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Lower Back Exercise - Strengthening Your Back with the Abdominal Bridge


Updated February 12, 2011

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Bridge Exercise for Back Pain - Alleviate Back Pain with the Bridge Exercise

Bridge Exercise for Back Pain - Alleviate Back Pain with the Bridge Exercise

If you are interested in strengthening your back, a key lower back exercise to include in your routine is the abdominal bridge. Here's how to perform this important core strengthener.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 3 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Try to put each heel in a straight line with its respective sitting bone. This will help you keep your legs in alignment and the stress off your knee, hip and ankle joints. Check your posture to be sure that your trunk makes a straight line and is not torqued or tilted.

    Your arms should be straight down by your side. They'll stay that way throughout the exercise. Keeping your arms by your sides is one thing that makes this abdominal bridge a beginner's version.

  2. Inhale, then exhale and tighten your stomach muscles.

  3. Inhale again and exhale, press your feet into the floor and tighten your stomach muscles to help you lift your posterior up. At first, taking your hips high is not as important as doing the exercise with good technique.

    If you have tight low back muscles, you may find that you can only minimally lift your pelvis and lower back. That's okay. Stop where you feel the stretch in your back.

  4. Keep your posterior lifted for one slow inhale. Then exhale and lower your body back to the ground.

  5. Repeat several times. Each time, try to go a little higher and stay up a little longer. (Remember to keep breathing!)


  1. Although the overall goal is to lift your hips high up in the air, let your pain guide you as to how high that is. Stop at the point where you feel a moderate stretch, or "the good hurt", and breathe through the feeling. With repetition, you'll be able to lift your pelvis higher.
  2. This exercise builds hip strength, a key component of a healthy low back.
  3. Try not to flatten your neck. Put a small pillow at the nape of your neck to protect your spinal curve and/or for comfort.
  4. Keep your neck and shoulders as relaxed as you can.
  5. Source:

    Moffat, Marilyn, P.T. Ph.D. and Vickery, Steve. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. Owl Books. Henry Holt and Company, LLC. New York, New York, 1999

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