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Today we’re strengthening your lower back, and one of the most valuable exercises for this are variations of the straight leg kickback. Before we include it into our routine, we need to make sure we’re doing it properly to get the most out of the exercise and avoid injury.
Find a place to comfortably get on all fours with room behind you to extend your leg. To ensure proper form, place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees square to your hips, and keep your spine neutral and square to the ground.
Inhale and lift your leg off the ground and extend it back toward the wall, keeping the rest of your body in place.
Engage your lower back to elevate your legs, but not past the point of keeping your pelvis parallel to the ground.
Upon exhaling, bring your knee and foot back into the starting position, then repeat on the opposite side.
Include 15-20 reps of these into your 3 sets
To get the most out of your exercise, add your opposite arm to the lift to perform the Bird Dog exercise, a variation of the straight leg kickback to improve your posture across your back and strengthen your balance and core along with your lower back and glutes. When you arm lift, the common mistake is lifting your arm straight forward like a solute. The problem with this is you’re pinching the muscle that lifts the arm up under the deltoid, the supraspinatus muscle, which can lead to entrapment syndrome and other injury.
For a proper arm lift, bring the arm opposite from the leg you’re kicking out to the side at about a 90 degree angle, ensuring that the peak of your lift goes just under your shoulder level. Alternate sides until you hit 15-20 reps on each side for your 3 sets, and already you should be feeling a postural difference.
Including this exercise into your routine is incredibly valuable for the strengthening of your lower back, but like with all exercise, routine has to come with your best form possible in order to prevent injury and promote growth.