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Michael James - Feb 1, 2024 - 7 min read - 1k Likes

Calisthenics For Lower Back Pain: A Comprehensive Guide to Relief

Lower back pain is a familiar foe to millions worldwide. Whether it’s a dull ache after a demanding day or a sharp pang while bending down, it can significantly disrupt our lives. While prescription drugs and physiotherapy offer relief, a safe, accessible, and effective solution often lies closer than we think: calisthenics.

Yes, The good news is, that calisthenics for Lower Back Pain offers a natural and effective approach to combat back pain.

What Are The Common Causes of Lower Back Pain?

Did you know that roughly 80% of adults experience lower back pain at some point? This common ailment arises from various factors, including:

Poor posture:

Slouching or hunching over desks and screens puts strain on the back muscles.

Weak core muscles:

A strong core provides essential support for the spine.

Sedentary lifestyle:

Lack of physical activity weakens the lower back muscles and decreases flexibility.

Improper lifting techniques:

Lifting heavy objects with incorrect form can lead to injury.

Overweight or obesity:

Excess weight puts additional stress on the spine.

Best calisthenics for lower back pain

Calisthenics, the art of using your body weight for exercise, boasts numerous benefits for lower back pain relief and prevention. Unlike gym equipment, calisthenics requires no special tools or expensive memberships, making it accessible to everyone, anywhere.

Balanced Limb Engagement: The Role of Arms and Legs in Back Pain Exercises

A crucial principle in back pain exercises is balanced limb engagement. This means ensuring both limbs on each side (arms and legs) are working equally. This creates stability and prevents twisting or straining the spine.

Calisthenics exercises like the bird-dog perfectly embody this principle.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start on all fours with hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.
  • Engage your core and keep your back flat.
  • Extend one arm forward and the opposite leg backward, keeping them parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Remember: Focus on controlled movements and maintain good form throughout the exercise. Stop if you feel any pain.

Glute Bridge Raise

The glutes play a crucial role in supporting the lower back. Strengthening them with exercises like the glute bridge raise can significantly improve stability and reduce pain.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Press your heels into the ground and lift your hips off the floor, squeezing your glutes.
  • Hold for a few seconds at the top, then slowly lower back down.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

Tip: To increase the difficulty, try performing the glute bridge with one leg extended.



  • Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended flat.
  • Engage your core and lift your chest, arms, and legs slightly off the ground.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower back down.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.



  • Start on all fours with hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.
  • As you inhale, arch your back and look up (cow pose).
  • As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin to your chest (cat pose).
  • Continue alternating smoothly between cow and cat for 10-15 repetitions.

Dead Bug:


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your core and press your lower back into the mat.
  • Slowly extend one arm and the opposite leg straight out, keeping them parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then slowly bring them back in and repeat on the other side.
  • Continue alternating arms and legs for 10-15 repetitions on each side.

Feet Flat, Pain Away: Calisthenics Techniques for Lower Back Comfort

When performing calisthenics exercises, keep your feet flat on the ground whenever possible. This provides better stability and minimizes stress on the lower back. If certain exercises require raising your feet, ensure proper support and adjust the intensity to avoid discomfort.

Can I do calisthenics with lower back pain?

Absolutely! Calisthenics can be a valuable tool for managing and preventing lower back pain. However, it’s crucial to choose exercises that are appropriate for your pain level and listen to your body.

Understanding and Minimizing the Risk of Injury in Calisthenics Routines

While calisthenics is generally a safe form of exercise, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks and take steps to minimize them. Here are some tips:

  • Warm up before starting your workout. This prepares your muscles for exercise and reduces the risk of injury.
  • Maintain proper form throughout each exercise. Don’t sacrifice form for intensity.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel any pain, stop the exercise immediately.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard. Gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts as you get stronger.
  • Use proper breathing techniques. Exhale during the exertion phase of each exercise.
  • Rest and recover adequately. Give your muscles time to repair and rebuild after workouts.

What is the best exercise to relieve lower back pain?

There’s no single “best” exercise for relieving lower back pain, as individual needs and pain levels vary. However, the glute bridge raise, bird-dog, and planks are frequently cited as effective exercises for strengthening the core and providing back pain relief. 

These exercises can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels and can be progressively adjusted as you become stronger.

Muscle Strengthening Strategies to Alleviate Lower Back Discomfort

Strengthening your core and surrounding muscles is essential for preventing and alleviating lower back pain. Here are some additional calisthenics exercises that can contribute to a strong and pain-free back:

Side plank

  • Start in a side plank position with your elbow directly below your shoulder and feet stacked.
  • Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from head to toe.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower back down and repeat on the other side.


  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly outward.
  • Engage your core and keep your back straight as you sit back as if lowering yourself into a chair.
  • Lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then push back up through your heels to return to the starting position.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions.


  • Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at 90-degree angles.
  • Keep your back straight and your front knee aligned over your ankle.
  • Push back through your front heel to return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions per leg.

Elevating Wellness: The Significance of Proper Form in Back Pain Exercises

Proper form is paramount for effective calisthenics workouts, especially when addressing lower back pain. Performing exercises in incorrect form can exacerbate pain and potentially lead to injury. Here are some key principles to remember:

Maintain a neutral spine:

Avoid arching or rounding your back during exercises. Engage your core to keep your spine in a natural alignment.

Focus on controlled movements:

Don’t rush through exercises. Move slowly and deliberately to ensure you are targeting the correct muscles and avoid jerking or twisting motions.

Breathe properly:

Inhale during the preparatory phase of an exercise and exhale during the exertion phase. Proper breathing helps stabilize your core and prevents straining.

Don’t ignore pain:

If you experience any pain, stop the exercise immediately and consult with a doctor or physical therapist. Pain is a sign that something is wrong, and forcing through it can lead to further injury.


Lower back pain can be a debilitating condition, but it doesn’t have to control your life. Calisthenics offers a safe, accessible, and effective approach to managing and preventing lower back pain.

By incorporating targeted exercises into your routine, strengthening your core muscles, and maintaining proper form, you can experience significant pain relief and improve your overall well-being.

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Michael James - Author

I am Michael James, a dedicated Spinal Surgeon committed to the comprehensive care of patients with spinal disorders. With a focus on precision and a deep understanding of spinal conditions, I bring 17 of experience in performing intricate spinal surgeries and interventions.

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