Calisthenics Lower Back Workout (10 Best Exercises)

The lower back is engaged in myriad activities, from sitting on the table and lifting weights to jumping and running. That is why it is essential to have a healthy back for a healthy lifestyle.

There are various bodyweight exercises you can do to bolster your lower back muscle and make it more flexible at home without equipment.

In this article, I’ve shared the best calisthenics lower back workout to help you bolster posterior chain muscles, increase spine flexibility, and minimize the risk of injuries.

Whether you are starting calisthenics or doing it out for a while, you can integrate these exercises into your training program to achieve a healthier lower back.

Calisthenics Lower Back Workout for Strength and Flexibility

1. Bird Dog

Bird Dog Plank
Bird Dog Plank

The bird dog plank is a strength and mobility exercise that works on the core and posterior chain muscles and improves lower back strength.

A study has shown bird dog plank highly activates lumbar erector spinae and helps ease back pain.1Calatayud J, Escriche-Escuder A, Cruz-Montecinos C, et al. Tolerability and Muscle Activity of Core Muscle Exercises in Chronic Low-back PainInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(19):3509. Published 2019 Sep 20. doi:10.3390/ijerph16193509

It is also easy to perform, so people of all fitness levels can include it in their calisthenics program.

How to do it:

  • Sit on all fours with your knees under your hips and arms below your shoulders.
  • Keep your abs tight and back flat.
  • Lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously until they are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for five seconds, return to the start, and repeat on the opposite side.

2. Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog, a lower back calisthenics workout.
Upward Facing Dog

The upward-facing dog provides an excellent stretch to posterior chain muscles, including the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, improves posture, and makes your muscles more flexible. It also strengthens abs and obliques, which provide stability to your lower back.2Ni M, Mooney K, Harriell K, Balachandran A, Signorile J. Core muscle function during specific yoga posesComplement Ther Med. 2014;22(2):235-243. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2014.01.007

How to do it:

  • Lie prone on the mat with your legs straight and engaged.
  • Place your hands on the floor beside your abdomen with your fingers pointing forward.
  • Making an arc shape in your spine, raise your torso and hips off the floor until your shoulders are above your wrist, your lower back is activated, and the chest is pointing against you.
  • Stay in this position for ten to 20 seconds, then relax your muscles.
  • Repeat as many times as needed.

3. Superman Fly

The superman fly is an incredible exercise to work out your posterior chain muscles, particularly the lower back. It also improves flexibility, lowers back pain, prevents injuries, and improves coordination.

How to do it:

  • Lie on the mat with your face down and arms straight in front of you.
  • Keep your core and glutes tight. This is your starting position.
  • Raise your arms and legs off the floor simultaneously until your posterior muscles are engaged.
  • Pause for three to five seconds and then return to the start.
  • Aim for three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.

4. Downward-Facing Dog

A female is doing Downward-Facing Dog, a calisthenics lower back exercise.
Downward-Facing Dog

The combination of upward and downward-facing dog exercises strengthens your lower back, making it more flexible and less prone to injuries.

These are excellent not only for calisthenics athletes but also for powerlifters, as they can use them as pre-workout stretches after squats or deadlift exercises.

How to do downward facing dog exercise:

  • Stand upright with your feet together.
  • Bend your torso at your hips and place your hands on the ground, making it an inverted V shape.
  • Pause for ten to 15 seconds or as long as you can endure.
  • Keep your abs and glutes engaged throughout the movement.

5. Lying Back Extension

Back extension is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening and conditioning the lower back.

A study has also verified that back extension increases spine flexibility and back muscle strength in young females after ten weeks of training.3Yaprak, Y. “The effects of back extension training on back muscle strength and spinal range of motion in young females.” Biology of sport vol. 30,3 (2013): 201-6. doi:10.5604/20831862.1047500

So, you can also integrate this exercise into your workout regime to improve your lower back health.

Let’s see how to do it:

  1. Lie prone on the mat with your face down and legs extended.
  2. Bend your elbows and clasp your hands behind your head.
  3. Lift your chest off the floor until you feel the good contraction in your lumber spine.
  4. Pause for five to ten seconds, then return your chest to the ground.
  5. Repeat as many times as you like.

6. Single-leg Deadlift

The single-leg deadlift is a unilateral movement that requires you to stand and balance your body on one leg.

It works on the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes and helps increase strength and mobility.

You can also use weight to make this exercise challenging and more effective.

How to do it:

  • Stand upright with your feet together and arms at your sides.
  • Maintaining a tight core and flat back, bend your torso at your hips until your right leg and chest are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause in that position for five to ten seconds, then return to the normal standing position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side and perform two to three sets of five to eight reps.

To balance yourself, you must keep your core, glutes, and thighs engaged throughout the movement.

7. Bridge Pose

Glute Bridge

The bridge pose is an incredible bodyweight exercise to hit posterior chain muscles. It primarily strengthens the glutes Maximus, the largest and most powerful muscle of the lower body, that provides stability to the lower back during various exercises and minimizes the risk of injuries. And for a healthy spine, strengthening the glute is as important as working on your lower back.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the mat with your face up and knees bent (ankles below your knees).
  2. Keep your arms straight at your sides with your palms down.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles and lift your hips off the floor until your knees, hips, and chest are aligned.
  4. Pause for at least five seconds, then return your hips to the ground. That’s on rep.
  5. Aim for three sets of 5-8 reps.

8. Superman Pull

A woman doing Superman Pull, a calisthenics lower back exercise
Calisthenics Lower Back Exercises

The superman pull strengthens multiple muscles simultaneously, including the lats, traps, and lower back, and helps build a healthy and flexible back.

You can substitute this exercise with superman raises and back extensions as they work almost the same muscles.

How to do it:

  1. Lie prone with your face down and your arms extended in front of you.
  2. Lift your chest off the floor and pull your elbows in until you feel the full contraction in your back muscles.
  3. Pause for five seconds, and then extend your arms. Repeat as many times as you like.

9. Cat-Cow Pose

Cat cow is a low-intensity exercise that increases flexibility in your spine without putting much stress on the lower back. It also improves your fitness to perform some challenging calisthenics lower back exercises.

How to do it:

  • Sit on all fours with your knees under your hips and arms below your shoulders.
  • Bring your chest out and head up to form an arc shape in your back. This is the Cow pose.
  • Pause for five seconds, then lift your back toward the ceiling and lower your head down toward the floor. This is the Cat pose.
  • Again stay in that position for five seconds then go into cow pose, and repeat.
  • Perform as many times as you like.

10. Locust Pose

The locust pose is another excellent variation of the back extension exercise. It increases strength and makes your spine more flexible.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the mat with your face down and legs straight.
  2. Keep your arms straight beside your hips.
  3. Lift your chest and legs off the floor until your hams, glutes, and back are entirely engaged.
  4. Hold in that position for ten seconds and then return to the start.
  5. Repeat eight to ten times.

Related Calisthenics Workout:

References

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Murshid Akram
I'm a certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and nature lover. I always learn more about exercise science and human anatomy so that I can provide the best information possible. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.