The key to any core exercise when your dealing with lower back pain is asking yourself the right questions. If you were to pick only one to ask, I would stick with this:

“Is this version of the exercise right for me, right now?”

As you progress and move down the line with your recovery, an old exercise such as a plank or a full dead bug won’t be a problem for you. The kicker is you have to EARN the ability to do them both well and pain-free. If you are in it to just find the fastest way to get to relief with as little work as possible this site isn’t for you.

On the other side of things, you have to get away from this thought of “if it hurts to do then I’ll just throw it out for good”. That’s usually never the case. Working THROUGH pain to get to relief will always leave your back over irritated and inflamed.

In today’s video, you are going to see 3 core exercises that I love to modify for clients and myself who have super sensitive backs and are looking to make their way back in the gym. I have been doing these exercises for years now and have used a number of modifications to ensure they keep me progressing towards relief and not stuck on my own pain cycle.

Check it out!

When you are building your own home core training program this is what I suggest.

Core Exercises For Sensitive Backs Tip 1: Always start with the easiest version possible.

Just because it seems ‘too easy” doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Easy (with no/little pain) just means your body trusts this exercise and it doesn’t feel the need to spasm or stiffen due to any instability/overactive muscle issues.

If you start with what you “used to do” or what you think your level of fitness can handle (most people overshoot this estimate). Your body isn’t going to respond well.

Core Exercises For Sensitive Backs Tip 2: Go Slow and Remember To Breathe

A lot of back spasms or stiffness in the spinal erectors during/after an exercise comes from over contracting the lumbar spine and/or going into too much flexion/extension (for someone who is intolerant of these positions). I know for me (I was a bit extension AND flexion intolerant) my brain would tell my body that extension and too much-repeated flexion were bad so when I would do simple exercises like bird dogs or any exercise involving these basic movements, my lower back would tighten and stay stiff for days. This would happen every time until I slowly retrained my brain to trust my body in these positions and built the stability in the trunk to do the work.

Core Exercises For Sensitive Backs Tip 3: Only Progress If Your Brain And Body Are On The Same Page

You never want to force yourself through an exercise just to prove to yourself that you are able to do it. Listen to your body and only progress when the pain or symptoms are under control.

Core Exercises For Sensitive Backs Tip 4: Start With One Of The Exercises Below

Start with 1 of these exercises for now and do 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps. If you can do more, great. If you have to do less, that’s great too. Do what you can. As you can increase your capacity, you can build an entire program with all three of these exercises.

Below is a great example.

Dead Bug Arm Holds: 3 sets 8-10 leg drops both sides

Banded trunk curl: 3 Sets 12-15 reps

Banded Bird Dog: 3 sets 8-10 reps


If you have had a spinal fusion or any major surgery on your spine it’s critical you do the right exercise to build strength back in your spine. Check out the exercise in the video below!

If you would like to dive into this topic, even more, check out the article below on core training.

How to Build Core Endurance

Core Endurance vs Core Strength: Which one is more important?

The Best Core Exercise Could be the worst for you.

I would love to hear from you!

Out of the 3 exercises in the video which one do you plan on trying in your next workout?

Let me know in the comment section below!

Thanks for stopping by


5 thoughts on “3 Essential Core Exercises for a Sensitive Lower Back

  1. This is my first time on your site. I am not familiar with the three above-listed stretches. I have been to PT for this stubborn QL pain, and have, instead, decided to try your approach. Two quick questions. I’m 65, and my abs are not tight light the old days… is that necessary?
    And, why does the QL feel like its getting “stuck” sometimes? When I least expect it, it locks up, and I stumble, or drop what I’m carrying, and look like an idiot. I know the importance of stretching, and will start there.
    Thx, Mary

    1. Hey Mary, it sounds like you could benefit from some core exercises. Its not that they need to be tight like the old days but it sounds like you are dealing with an imbalance situation where the QL is almost acting like your abs when your abs should be doing the work. I give you step by step how to train and develop your core in this video course

      I wouldn’t stretch at all to be honest. Work on your core first. Then see how your body feels. If you follow that course all the way through I am certain you will be way different and more stable.


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