Prone Press Ups for Low Back Pain

Prone press ups can be very helpful for acute episodes of low back pain when the directional preference has been determined to be lumbar extension. Directional preference refers to a particular movement or direction helping low back symptoms in conjunction with the opposite direction worsening symptoms. Clues that may identify a directional preference for extension include: symptoms better with standing, walking and on the move; symptoms worse with bending, sitting and when sedentary.

prone press ups for low back pain relief

Prone press up exercise instructions:

  • Start in the prone position (lying on your stomach) on a flat surface such as a bench or the floor
  • Place your hands underneath your shoulders
  • Press up your upper body while trying to keep your pelvis/hips on the floor
  • Perform repeatedly until you are able to obtain full straightening of your elbows
  • Once you have reached full elbow extension, let a breath out and let your hips sink further down towards the floor
  • You do not have to hold the end position
  • Perform 5-6 sets of 10-15 reps at a time (every 2 hours)
  • Before/after each set, check your low back range of motion in standing by bending forward/backward and pushing your hips side to side to see if the exercise increased your low back range of motion and decreased your low back pain
  • If your low back and/or range of motion improves after performing, continue the exercise
  • If your low back and/or range of motion worsens afterwards, discontinue the exercise


Prone press ups are a great exercise for low back pain, especially acute episodes. We always recommend getting an evaluation for any new onset low back pain by a qualified healthcare provider.

Yours in health,

The Lederman Chiropractic & Sports Medicine Team


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