Chronic low back is a common problem. Medical studies indicate that often the cause of chronic low back is that the multifidus muscles associated with injured segment of the spine, do not spontaneously recover even after low back pain is no longer present. The picture below depicts how the multifidus run the length of the spine.
The multifidus has many actions but this blog will describe exercises that incorporate hip extension. Because a medical study (in the J of Physical Therapy Science in 2014) indicated that hip extension exercises had the biggest effect on the lumbar multifidus.
Bridges are an exercise where the bottom is lifted from a mat - Bilateral hip extension occurs with this exercise.
Another way to get hip extension is to lie on your stomach and lift a leg up from the mat. Sometimes it can be painful to lift the leg. In that case, you can place a pillow or two underneath your stomach and then lift the leg into hip extension. However, you can also use the MINIMAX (a version of a Pilates arc barrel) flipped over, in order to support your back as you lift a leg into extension. This is a great way to do hip extension without spinal movement, especially good for people with spinal fusions. The picture below depicts this exercise.
Hip extension can also be done on your hands and knees. Once this exercise, gets easy you can think about adding resistance with a cuff weight or a resistance band, the video below demonstrates how this can be done with the HANDIBANDS, (Pilates bands) which are adjustable and are outfitted with foot loops, that stay put even through movements and transitions.
Please keep these simple exercises in mind and know that you are training your gluts and your multifidus and that strengthening these small muscles will translate into a stronger back.
If interested, please take a look at this next video which is an exercise flow focused on hip extension with the MINIMAX. You can see how you can start to incorporate hip extension beyond back rehab into a fitness flow.
The MINIMAX and HANDIBANDS are small pieces of Pilates equipment, often called PIlates props, that I developed to bring Pilates into the home, physical therapy and Pilates studios. There are full length workout on Hooked on Pilates YouTube channel. Please reach out with any questions you have!