The 9 Best Lower Back Stretches to Help Relieve Soreness

Published May 17th, 2022 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Erik Rivera

Lower back stretches are a great way to relieve pain and tension in the lower back.

There are a variety of different lower back stretches that can be done, so it is important to find ones that work best for you.

Some lower back stretches can be done while sitting or standing, while others may require you to lie down on your back.

In this article, we will provide a few different lower back stretches that can be done to help relieve lower back soreness or pain.

Why do I need to stretch my lower back?

Stretching your lower back can help relieve pain and improve flexibility and range of motion in the lower back and hips.

When the lower back is flexible, it is less likely to be injured and stretching can also help alleviate lower back pain by helping to release tight muscles and relieve tension.

Most lower back stretches can be performed with minimal equipment and can be done at home or at the gym.

lower back stretch image

How do I prepare for doing lower back stretches?

Before beginning any stretching routine, it is important to warm up the muscles to prevent injury.

A simple way to warm up the lower back muscles is to do some light aerobic activity such as walking or jogging for 5-10 minutes.

Once the muscles are warm from aerobic exercise, you can begin stretching the lower back.

Please note that it is also important to stretch both sides of the lower back equally to maintain balance in the muscles and avoid injury.

What are the 9 best lower back stretches?

There are many different lower back stretches that can be beneficial, but some of the most common and effective stretches include:

Child’s Pose

The Child's Pose is a classic yoga pose and flexibility exercise and basic stretch for beginners as it is gentle and can be done without any equipment.

The starting position to do the Child's Pose begins with you on all fours and then lower your buttocks down to your heels while keeping your arms extended in front of you.

If you cannot lower your buttocks all the way down to your heels, place a pillow or blanket under your hips for support. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Cat-Cow

The Cat-Cow Stretch is another common yoga stretch for beginners that also stretches your stomach muscles too.

It begins with you on all fours with your hands aligned under your shoulders and your knees aligned under your hips.

As you inhale, arch your back and look up towards the ceiling, allowing your stomach to sink down toward the floor which is the cow position of the stretch.

As you exhale, round your back up towards the ceiling and tuck your chin down toward your chest, arching your back like a scared cat which is the cat position of the exercise. Repeat this stretch 10-15 times.

Pelvic tilt

The pelvic tilt exercise is a simple but effective lower back stretch that can be done lying down or sitting up. When you perform the pelvic tilt lying down you start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Place your hand on your lower stomach and tighten your abs, tilting your pelvis up off the floor. It is normal to feel your lower back pressing down on the floor.

Hold the position for 5-10 seconds and then relax.

To do the pelvic tilt sitting up, start in a seated position in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.

Place your hand on your lower stomach and tighten your abs, tilting your pelvis up off the chair. Now you will feel your lower back pressing down into the chair. Hold the position for 15 seconds and then relax.

Knee-to-chest

Another easy, gentle stretch is the knee to chest stretch which is great for the lower back and, similar to the pelvic tilt, can be done lying down or sitting up.

To begin the lying down version of the knee-to-chest stretch, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Place your hands around one knee and pull it up towards your chest, keeping the other leg flat on the floor.

Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then repeat with the other leg.

When performing the knee-to-chest stretch sitting up, start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.

Place your hands around one knee and pull it up towards your chest, keeping the other leg bent with the foot placed flat on the floor. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then repeat with the other leg.

Piriformis stretch

The piriformis muscle is a small muscle located deep in the buttocks muscle and it can often become tight and cause lower back pain.

The piriformis stretch, also called the supine figure 4 stretch, is a great stretch to help loosen this muscle.

Start the piriformis stretch by lying on your back with both legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your right hand behind your head and then reach your left arm through your right leg, placing your hand on your right ankle.

Gently pull your right leg up towards your chest while keeping your lower back pressed down on the floor. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then repeat on the other side.

Bridge pose

The bridge pose is another simple stretch for the lower back as well as your gluteus maximus muscles, also called glutes.

You start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Place your arms at your sides with your palms flat on the floor. Press down into your feet and lift your hips up off the floor, extending your lower back.

Hold this position and then lower your hips back down to the floor and repeat.

Supine twist

The supine twist helps stretch your lower back and hip flexibility. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Place your arms at your sides with your palms flat on the floor. Keeping your lower back pressed down on the floor, let both knees fall to one side.

Hold this position for 30 seconds and bring your knees back to the center and then repeat on the other side.

Seated spinal twist

The seated spinal twist is another great stretch for your lower back and hip flexor muscles.

Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor next to your left thigh.

Place your left hand on the floor behind you and then twist your torso to the right, placing your right hand on your left knee and hold this position and then repeat on the other side.

Forearm plank

While the forearm plank is more of an exercise than a stretch, it is still a great way to strengthen the lower back and improve core stability by strengthening your abdominal muscles too.

Start by lying on your stomach with your elbows bent and placed directly under your shoulders.

Push up off the floor, keeping your forearms and toes touching the floor and your body in a straight line from head to toe. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then lower back down to the floor and repeat.

From around the web: lower back stretches

Reddit - Miracle Stretch for Lower Back Tightness

Pinterest - Lower back stretches

Tips to remember when stretching

Remember to always stretch slowly and gently to avoid injury and muscle strain. If you experience any feelings of discomfort or pain, stop the stretch immediately as it may make your pain worse.

If you are unsure of how to perform any of these stretches correctly, consult a certified fitness instructor or physical therapist.

When stretching, try to hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds to 30 seconds total time to ensure the muscle is stretched, and repeat until you feel the muscles have been properly stretched.

It is also important to breathe deeply and slowly when stretching as this will help improve flexibility.

When performing exercises on the floor, it may be more comfortable to perform them on a yoga mat or carpeted floor.

Summary

Stretching is a great way to improve flexibility and relieve lower back pain. These lower back stretches can help you loosen tight muscles, improve your range of motion, and reduce pain.

Remember to always stretch slowly and gently to avoid injury and if you feel any pain, stop the stretch immediately.

Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds to 30 seconds total time and breathe deeply and slowly when stretching.

As always, consult your doctor or health care provider before starting any exercise routine if you have any medical condition or are in pain.

If you have any questions about stretching exercises for your lower back, talk to a physical therapist or trainer to determine what stretches pr exercise program may be the best for you.

References and Sources:

Stretching for Back Pain Relief - Spine Health

Slide show: Back exercises in 15 minutes a day - Mayo Clinic