Sitting all day contributes to underdeveloped glutes, which work together with the lower back. Or maybe you have overdeveloped abs from focusing on crunches and front-body exercises while neglecting the backside. Whatever the reason, you can begin to strengthen your lower back and remedy the imbalance by doing two rounds of these gentle exercises just 3 days per week. Add them to your current fitness routine, and you'll feel a difference after 8 weeks.
Begin on all fours on a cushioned surface, like a carpet or a mat. Start with a neutral spine, then round your back toward the ceiling like an angry cat. Let your head drop down, relaxed. You will feel a gentle stretch through your back. Next, drop your belly button toward the floor, and lift your head upward into cow pose. Perform 12 full cycles.
Supported Forward Fold
Begin standing tall with legs together. Take a deep breath in and place your hands on the fronts of your thighs, then exhale and slowly lower your hands down your legs until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings but can sustain a neutral spine (no rounding). Stop lowering at or above knee height to hold the posture, and keep your head in line with your spine. Hold for 30 seconds.
Begin on all fours, then reach your right arm forward and your left leg backward until your body forms one straight line from wrist to torso to heel. Hold momentarily, then return to starting position. Repeat with the left arm and the right leg. As you reach, you will feel a gentle stretch in the lower back. Be careful not to lift the arm or leg higher than torso height, or else the pose will be more strenuous than gentle. Complete 12 repetitions.
Photographs courtesy of Brook Benten.