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 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