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The Real Culprits of Lower Back Pain

The Real Culprits of Lower Back Pain

By: Trainer Ashlee Whitmoyer


How many of you have ever experienced lower back pain? Interestingly enough the lower back is typically not the culprit. Our hips are in constant flexion thanks to hunching over computers, watching TV, and commuting for hours to and from work. This frequent sitting creates tight hips and under-active glutes and abs.


When we don’t focus on engaging our glutes and abs adequately, our lower back tries to assist in movements that bio-mechanically it isn’t meant to. Imbalances in aforementioned underdeveloped muscles cause our lower back to overwork which creates pain. When people feel their lower back begin to hurt they automatically think the reason is a weak back. But more likely than not, any pain experienced is due to other muscles not being activated and utilized. Several clients have come to me seeking lower back strengthening exercises to alleviate pain.  Further analyzing their mobility and stability shows the real issue is usually one of the following items:

Weak Core

Inactive Glute

Tight Hip Flexors

The answers to correct the above imbalances are:


  1.  Foam roll your glutes (including laterally) and trigger point your psoas muscle.
  2. Perform isolation exercises that require little to no resistance for higher repetitions
    1. Glute bridges
    2. Clamshells
    3. Deadbugs
    4. Forearm Plank with Adduction Focus (squeeze heels and glutes tightly together)
  3. Eventually work up to weighted exercises and compound movements


Regressing to basic, simple movements can be frustrating, but they are crucial in making sure the correct muscles are being recruited for specific movements. Once you are able to successfully engage your glutes and abs at will you can focus on strengthening them. Enhancing your core and glute strength will ultimately protect your lower back and help to mitigate and prevent against pain.






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