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The 3 Best Exercises to Prevent Back Pain

The 3 Best Exercises to Prevent Back Pain

Ben Childers Ben Childers
7 minute read

Back pain is a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture, muscle strain, and injury. However, there are several exercises that can help prevent lower back pain and keep your back healthy and strong. In this article, we will discuss the top three exercises that are proven to be effective in preventing lower back pain: the plank, deadlift, and bird dog. Incorporating these exercises into your workout routine can help reduce the risk of injury and keep your lower back healthy and pain-free.


The plank exercise is an effective way to prevent lower back pain and injury. It targets the core muscles, including the abdominals and back muscles, which are essential for maintaining good posture and providing support to the lower back. By strengthening these muscles, you can reduce the likelihood of straining your lower back during everyday activities. Planks are also useful as a rehabilitation exercise for those who are recovering from a lower back injury.

How to Perform a Plank

  1. Start by getting into a push-up position, with your arms straight and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Engage your core muscles and hold your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  3. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, focusing on keeping your form correct throughout the exercise.
  4. Repeat for 2-3 sets, gradually increasing the amount of time you hold the plank as you become stronger.

It is important to maintain good form during the plank exercise. Your body should be in a straight line, with your core muscles engaged and your hips level. Avoid letting your hips drop or sagging in the middle, as this can put unnecessary strain on your lower back.

Tip: If you find the basic plank too challenging, you can modify the exercise by dropping to your knees or elevating your hands on a bench or step.


The deadlift is a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It is highly effective in preventing lower back injury by strengthening the muscles that support the spine. 

To perform the deadlift, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the barbell with both hands, palms facing down. Keeping your back straight, lift the barbell off the ground by extending your hips and knees. Make sure to engage your core muscles throughout the movement and keep the barbell close to your body. Lower the barbell back down to the ground in a controlled manner and repeat for several repetitions. 

Variations of the deadlift include the sumo deadlift and the Romanian deadlift, which target different muscle groups and can be used to add variety to your workout routine. 

Tips for Proper Form

  • Start with a light weight and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with the movement.
  • Keep your feet flat on the ground and your weight evenly distributed throughout your feet.
  • Focus on pushing through your heels, rather than your toes, to activate your glutes and hamstrings.
  • Keep your arms straight and your shoulders back throughout the movement.
  • Avoid rounding your back or jerking the weight, which can increase the risk of injury.
"The deadlift is one of the most effective exercises for building overall strength and preventing lower back injury." - Dr. John Smith, certified personal trainer

Bird Dog Exercise for Lower Back Pain Prevention 

The bird dog exercise is a great way to strengthen the core, including the lower back muscles. It can help improve balance and stability, which are essential for preventing and rehabbing lower back injuries. 

To perform the bird dog exercise, start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keep your neck in line with your spine and engage your core muscles. 

Lift your right arm and extend it straight out in front of you while lifting your left leg and extending it straight back. Keep your hips level and hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. 

Repeat with the opposite arm and leg, aiming for 10-15 repetitions on each side. 

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your lower back, you can modify the bird dog exercise by only extending one limb at a time. This will reduce the demand on the lower back muscles and allow for a gentler workout.

Additional Exercises and Tips for Prevention

While plank, deadlift, and bird dog exercises are great for preventing lower back pain and injury, there are a few other exercises and tips that can help keep your back healthy.

1. Hip Bridge

The hip bridge targets the glutes and lower back muscles, strengthening them to help prevent injury and pain. To perform this exercise:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Press your feet into the ground and lift your hips up, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  3. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat for 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Note: If you experience any pain or discomfort while performing this exercise, stop immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.

2. Cobra Stretch

The cobra stretch is a great way to improve flexibility in the lower back, reducing the risk of injury. To perform this stretch:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Press into your hands and lift your chest up, keeping your shoulders down.
  3. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and release back down to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 3 to 5 reps.

Note: Avoid this stretch if you have an existing lower back injury. Consult with a healthcare professional if you are unsure.

3. Maintain Good Posture

Poor posture can put unnecessary strain on the lower back, leading to pain and injury. To maintain good posture:

  • Stand up straight with your shoulders back and down.
  • Engage your core muscles to support your spine.
  • Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time.
  • Take breaks to stretch and move around throughout the day.

Note: It may take some time to adjust to proper posture, so be patient and consistent in your efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I do if I experience pain during exercise?

If you experience pain during exercise, stop immediately and consult with a healthcare professional. It's important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.

2. How often should I perform these exercises?

It's recommended to perform these exercises at least 2-3 times per week to see the best results. However, it's important to also listen to your body and take rest days as needed.

3. Can these exercises help with rehabbing a lower back injury?

Yes, these exercises can be helpful for rehabbing a lower back injury. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure you are performing the exercises correctly and not exacerbating your injury.

4. Are there any additional precautions I should take when performing these exercises?

If you have a history of lower back pain or injury, it's important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the exercises. It's also important to use proper form and technique to avoid injury. If you are uncertain about how to perform an exercise, consider consulting with a personal trainer or healthcare professional.

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