Lower Back Exercises for Runners

Lower back is a part of the core region of a human body and it is very complicated. Lots of things in and along the spine. And runners generally hurt it with long runs, hard surface running, poor running posture and what not.

Causes of lower back pain in runners

Lower back in runners can be a very annoying injury and can lead to a serious downtime. The causes can be mysterious but a visit to an experienced doctor can reveal it’s probable cause. However, the reasons can be many –

1.  Tight hip flexors.

2.  Weak core.

3.  Poor running form.

4.  Uneven leg length.

5.  Flat feet.

6.  Over striding.

7.  Overpronation.

8.  Tight hamstrings.

9.  Poor recovery.

Lower back exercises

Superman - core workout


1.  Superman

An amazing exercise for lower back as shown in the inset. Hold the position for as long as possible. There are a lot of variations to this posture like raising alternate leg and hand, raising only hands or only legs. This a exercise should be done by all runners to prevent low back ache and to keep an upright posture throughout the run.

2.  Cobra pose

cobra pose - lower back exercise

Cobra pose

Also known as bhujangasana. It is an excellent asana to stretch and strengthen the back. Lie down on stomach and slowly raise your upper body with the help of your arms. Keep breathing normally throughout the movement. At the top most point try and look up. Hold it for 3-5 breaths and slowly return to starting position.

3.  Glute bridge

Glute bridge - core strengthening exercises

Glute Bridge

Another great exercise for those with painful knees, hamstrings and glutes. Good form will mean a straight line from neck to knees as shown in the inset. Hold the position as long as possible without breaking the form i.e sagging of hips. To make it challenging, lift alternate legs while maintaining the straight line. Gradually keep increasing the time of the hold as you get stronger.

4.  Pigeon pose

pigeon pose - lower back exercise

Pigeon Pose

It helps stretch out the hip flexors. Get in the position as shown in the inset. Gradually bend forward according to your flexibility. Hold at the end for 3-5 breaths and return to starting position and change leg.

5.  Dhanurasa

dhanurasan - lower back exercise


This asana helps strengthen and stretch the lower as well as upper back. Lie down on your stomach and reach back and hold your ankles. Now slowly raise you chest and thighs off the ground. Hold it for 3-5 breaths and come down to starting position.

6.  Planks

Plank - Core strengthening exercises for runners

Basic Plank

Planks are the bread and butter of any runner aiming to excel in the sport. Front and side plank are the best exercises for stabilising the core. There are many variations to it as you become stronger. The basic posture is shown in the inset. Points to remember:

–   Keep breathing normally throughout.

–  Maintain a straight line of neck, back and glutes like a wooden plank.

–   Avoid shifting unless doing a dynamic variation.

–   Start by holding the posture for 20-30 seconds while maintaining a proper posture and build up subsequently.

Tips to prevent lower back pain

1.  Get a stand up desk. Researches have recently proved that sitting is the new cancer. stand up desk

2.  Walk and don’t sit for long.

3.  Get your gait analysis done. You can get a ton of information about your running style and can make corrections accordingly.

4.  In case of leg length discrepancy, get custom orthotics.

5.  Avoid running too much mileage on roads. Hit the trails often.

6.  Foam roll your back, glutes and hamstrings to loosen the tight spots.

7.  Get adequate sleep and ensure proper recovery after running.gait analysis

8.  Read this to improve running form.

9.  Stretch your back often while sitting on your chair.

10.  Sleep on a hard bed.

11. Change shoes if worn out.

12.  Avoid lifting heavy weights or wear a lumbar belt while lifting.

13.  Improve upon your lower body strength and core. It helps support the lower back.

Hope these exercises will help you to manage the lower back. Till then stay fit and keep running.

What exercises you do to counter lower back pain?

Are there any specific issues which trigger back pain for you?

Disclaimer : I am not a medical practitioner. The exercises given in this article are the ones I do to manage my lower back. Get yourself checked by a qualified doctor in case of severe pain and discomfort.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Neel banerjee

Author: Neel

I am Neel and the creator of borN. I am an ultra marathoner, scuba diver, adventurer, writer and father of an extremely active child.

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  1. Very good article, As chiropractor I see it safe to work with , and effective, there is also another good website http://spinalpainrelief.com/ but it is only about lower right back pain which is also very common.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey George, thanks for stopping by. I looked at the website and found it to be quite useful. Thanks for sharing.

      Post a Reply


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