Lower back pain is the number two reason Americans see their doctor, second only to the common cold. To avoid being part of that statistic, head off back pain by building a strong core. Your core is the muscle system in your abdominals, lower back, hips and glutes that helps stabilize the body. These muscles help keep the back stable, properly aligned and resistant to injury. This exercise, the elbow bridge plank, can help strengthen the abdominals, back and hips.
Start by lying facedown on an exercise mat. Clasp your hands just under your chin, keeping your elbows and forearms underneath your chest. Using your toes and forearms, prop yourself up to form a bridge. Maintain a flat back — no arching — and keep your hips from sagging toward the ground. Hold this position, keeping your abdominal muscles tight, until you can no longer maintain good form. Start with 10 seconds and gradually increase your time. Try to work up to three minutes.