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Lower back pain is more common than you might think. A lot of our clients at Embody Fitness express feeling lower back pain during our consultation. It ranges from a little discomfort to debilitating pain which can disrupt normal, daily activities. Even my husband has experienced lower back pain when we had our first son which impacted his quality of life.

While there are a lot of factors that contribute to lower back pain, one major factor has emerged in recent years – the correlation between a strong core + core engagement to yield pain relief. In this blog post, we’ll touch on this connection, understand the importance of a strong and engaged core, and learn how to prevent and relieve lower back pain through targeted exercises and lifestyle changes.

Understanding Lower Back Pain

Before we delve into the correlation between core engagement and lower back pain, let’s understand the anatomy of the lower back and what causes pain in that area. The lower back is a complex structure of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons that provide support and flexibility for the upper body. When there is excessive stress or strain in this area, it can lead to lower back pain. Common causes include:

  • Muscle imbalances: Weak and tight muscles can cause the spine to become misaligned and lead to pain.
  • Poor posture: Having poor posture for extended periods can strain the lower back.
  • Overuse or injury: Repetitive motions or sudden injuries can damage the lower back, leading to pain.
  • Herniated discs: Discs that cushion the vertebrae can become damaged or rupture, causing intense lower back pain.
  • Weak or unengaged core muscles: A weak core can contribute significantly to lower back pain, as it affects the stability and support of the spine.

The Core’s Role in Lower Back Health

The core muscles are not just the visible “six-pack” muscles; they include a network of deep muscles that support and stabilize the spine. This network, often referred to as the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, consists of muscles like the transverse abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles, and the obliques. When these core muscles are weak or unengaged, it places extra pressure on the lower back, leading to pain and discomfort.

At Embody Fitness, we recognize this complex which is why we work on building strength in the “deep core” first before giving clients more dynamic core movements like crunching. If you are not doing deep core exercises, your lower back could be vulnerable.

Lower Back Pain and Core Correlation

  • Spinal Stability: A strong and engaged core will give you stability around and in the spine. The core muscles work together to keep the spine in a neutral position, reducing the risk of abnormal movements that can strain the lower back. When these muscles are weak, the spine is more vulnerable to stress and misalignment.
  • Shock Absorption: The core muscles act as shock absorbers for the spine. When you engage your core during physical activities, such as lifting heavy objects or even just walking, it helps distribute the weight evenly, reducing the stress on the lower back.
  • Posture Support: A weak core often leads to poor posture. Slouching and sitting for extended periods without good support can put extra pressure on the lower back. Engaging the core helps maintain an upright posture and reduces the risk of developing posture related lower back pain.
  • Prevention of Muscle Imbalances: Core strength is essential in maintaining a balance between the abdominal and lower back muscles. When one set of muscles is significantly stronger than the other, it can pull the spine out of alignment, which leads to extra stress and pain.
  • Improved Movement Patterns: Engaging the core improves overall quality of movement in your everyday life as well as in your workouts. When you have a strong core, you are more likely to use proper body mechanics during your workouts, reducing the risk of lower back strain. A personal training session with a personal trainer can facilitate an environment where you can learn to activate and engage your core in a safe and effective way. 

Exercises to Strengthen the Core

  • Planks: Planks are excellent for engaging the entire core. Start with short durations and gradually increase the time as your strength improves.
  • Bridges: This exercise targets the lower back and glutes. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the ground, engaging your core.
  • Bird-Dog: Kneel on all fours and extend one arm and the opposite leg. This exercise not only strengthens the core but also improves balance.
  • Supermans: Lie on your stomach and simultaneously lift your arms and legs off the ground. This exercise targets the lower back muscles.
  • Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lean back slightly, engage your core, and twist your torso to touch the floor on either side of your body.

There are so many more core exercises that we teach outside of this list at Embody Fitness to specifically engage the various layers of the core. If you want to learn more, send us an email at to set up a free personal training session.

Lifestyle Changes for Lower Back Pain Relief

In addition to core-strengthening exercises, making certain lifestyle changes can also contribute to lower back pain relief:

  • Ergonomic Workspace: Revamp  your workspace to be ergonomically designed, with an adjustable chair, proper desk height, and lumbar support.
  • Proper Lifting Techniques: Always bend your knees, engage your core, and keep the object close to your body when lifting heavy items. Seek the assistance from our personal trainers in a workout to ensure proper technique that can translate to everyday movements as well.
  • Regular Stretching: Incorporate regular stretching into your routine to maintain flexibility and prevent muscle imbalances.
  • Healthy Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the stress on your lower back.
  • Adequate Rest: Ensure you get enough sleep to allow your body to recover and heal.


The correlation between core engagement and strength and lower back pain relief is undeniable. A strong and engaged core provides the stability and support needed to protect the lower back from strain and discomfort. By incorporating core-strengthening exercises into your routine and making lifestyle changes that support your lower back’s health, you can significantly reduce the risk of lower back pain and improve your overall quality of life.At Embody Fitness, we have personal trainers that are well versed in core awareness and engagement is key in learning proper form and technique in a workout setting. Email us at to set up a free personal training session.

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