One of the most neglected region of the body in terms of calisthenics exercises is the lower back.
If you’ve ever trained calisthenics intensely, focusing on upper body exercises such as the muscle up, as most of us do, then you might have felt some pain the lower back. This is especially true if you spend long lengths of time sitting down in a chair or driving.
However, there are many good lower back calisthenics exercises, and strengthening this area, along with the lower abdominal area, will greatly reduce chances of injury and pain caused by bad posture.
If you’re interested in a complete 12 week-program, our recommendation is that you check out bar brother’s system, which we have reviewed in the past. We will be reviewing other programs in the near future, so watch this space.
In this article, we’ll show you four of our favourite lower back calisthenics exercises.
Exercise 1- Superman
The superman isn’t exactly a classic calisthenics movement, though it fits all the requirements: It relies solely on your own body weight and on discrete movement.
Doing this exercise is simple: Just lay on the floor with your belly down, and elevate your head and legs at the same time.
Exercise 2- Handstand
Yep, that’s right, handstands- if done properly, can be a great exercise for lower back and abs.
If you’re a beginner handstander, simply put your hands at shoulder length close to a wall, with your belly facing the wall, and reach the wall with your feet. Then start moving your feet up the wall, approximating your hands to the wall until you are close to a handstand position. Repeat this movement at least 10 times.
If you’re already comfortable doing handstands, try focusing on controlling your posture with your abs/lower back instead of with your legs.
The video below demonstrates this concept further:
Exercise 3- Planks
Planks are a great exercise if done properly. However, if your posture isn’t correct, it might aggravate your lower back pain.
For that reason, we recommend extreme caution when doing this exercise. You must certify that your back is in a straight line.
The video below is a good introduction to proper posture:
Exercise 4- Leg raises
This exercise focuses on the lower abdominal area, which is also important in order to avoid lower back pain.
There are several variations, including the dragon leg raise, shown below, which is perhaps the most effective and demanding exercise for lower back and abdominal development.
These four exercises and their progressions are more than enough to build up the lower back and lower abdominal muscles.
With time, this will provide some structure, thus reducing lower back pain.
In the meantime, if you’re having pain in this region, you should also look at improving your posture and reducing time sitting down.
Seeing an osteopath could also alliviate the pain in the short term.
As always, we welcome your comments in the section below.
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.