I am wanting to find some strengthening exercises for my back. I think this is what I need to help me with pain I am experiencing.

I only get the pain when I sleep at night, I go to sleep with no pain and wake up in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning with pain in my lower back, usually to the right hand side.

I got a new bed and mattress thinking it may be my old bed/mattress causing the pain. I have also tried sleeping with a pillow between my knees on my side and varying pillow height for my head to no avail.

I was wondering if there are any specific exercise I could do strengthen my back in the hope that this will help me to reduce the possibility of pain occuring.

I am overweight, but I have always been overweight but this is a new problem. I am not doing any new exercising or anything different than usual. My only thought is that it could be related somehow to when I pick up my daughter because she is getting older (and heavier) now, but if that was the case why would I not get the pain all the time.

  • 4
    Ask your doctor to diagnose the cause of your pain. Night pain can be a red flag, so it is best to ask a medical professional before trying the do-it-yourself route. Dec 9, 2014 at 11:54
  • Thanks for the link @BackInShapeBuddy I will consult my doctor definitely.
    – LauraJ
    Dec 9, 2014 at 16:43
  • You are welcome. Once you get an ok from your doctor, this answer has links to ab/core exercises that should help strengthen (without aggravating the back) like the bird dog, dying bug and planks. Dec 10, 2014 at 3:04
  • I know it’s been a long while but have you figured out what it was? I experience the same thing. Back pain ONLY at night that gets better if I adjust my position a few times. It’s been almost a year and I did lots of testing but no clear answer yet. Hope you can share your follow up! Thank You so much!
    – NiaLad
    May 26, 2022 at 19:40

2 Answers 2



I saw that you mentioned sleeping on your side with a pillow. That is a great start. Whatever you do, never ever sleep on your front. It puts a tremendous amount of stress on your discs.

In terms of exercises. I would start performing bird dogs, front and side planks. They are your best bet. I have videos of all of them on my website. Go to my home page and the link is there. I describe and perform them and it is easy to follow.

You also want to look at strengthening your posterior chain. Hamstrings and glutes. Lying glute hip bridges and single leg glute hip raises are great for that. Quite often when we experience back pain it is because our other muscles aren't doing their jobs, so the lower back has to pick up the slack.

Work on stretching out your glutes, hip flexors and hamstrings religiously. Morning and night. There are plenty of youtube videos you can find for that.

I hope that helps,


  • Thanks Mike, what you say makes a lot of sense as when I was running (I haven't for a while now) it was always my hips that used to get really tight and I had to really stretch them out (I think it was called my IT band?) after a run.
    – LauraJ
    Dec 5, 2014 at 15:51
  • "The info is over there" isn't really supposed to constitute an answer. All the material, photos, and content should be posted as the answer and links to anything should merely be references.
    – Eric
    Dec 5, 2014 at 16:53
  • I am new to the site Eric. I am not up to date on the exact etiquette for responding. Was trying to help Laura. Dec 6, 2014 at 17:04

Sometimes back pain can be relieved by strengthening core muscles (back included). I recommend a two exercises that will take less than 5 minutes per day to complete: "Stiff Leg Dead lifts" and "Plank". These exercises will target your core.

As far as sets/reps/weight, you may receive many and varied opinions. What's most important though is that you don't over stress your body - you are trying to prevent back pain, not cause extra.

With that in mind, I offer the following opinion for sets/reps/weight, you may want to consult a health professional before trying:

1) "Stiff Dead Lifts" with LIGHT weight (perhaps 20 pounds). 4 sets of 15 reps. Rest 30 seconds between sets. As the days go by, increase the weight as you feel comfortable. You will notice a dramatic increase in the amount of weight that you can life comfortably in just the first few weeks. Do this 2 or 3 times per week to start off with.

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2) "Plank" after your dead lift exercise, do 1 minute worth of the plank exercise in 10-second intervals with 20-30 seconds rest in between the intervals. After a few weeks, you will be able to do 1 minute without any rest at all.

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Good Luck!

  • 1
    +1. Also, I'm a big fan of unloaded (or very lightly loaded) rounded back lifts. Even for a strong person, maybe 25lb's, down to the toes, straight legged, arch over and pick it up. The reality is that we're rounded-back lifting all the time, so never doing strength training in that regard is short sighted to me. Plus, I've found them very therapeutic for muscular lower back pain.
    – Eric
    Dec 5, 2014 at 17:01

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