Today’s episode is entitled “The best exercise equipment for lower back pain”, and the list includes:

  • Elliptical trainer
  • Stationery bike
  • Treadmill
  • Stepping machine
  • Kettlebell (the best exercise equipment for lower back pain)

The best exercise equipment for lower back pain

Whichever of these you try, go by the rule “use it, but don’t abuse it”. If it hurts back off, get some assistance and guidance. Don’t aggravate your lower back, but the more physical activity you can do that doesn’t hurt, the better.

Elliptical trainer

Like cross country skiing, your feet are planted and you’re sliding them backwards and forwards. There’s no jarring impact, so if you struggle running or even walking, you may be fine with this one. Don’t overreach. As you bring your foot backwards, restrict that range of motion. The further back your foot tends to slide the further forward, you also tend to slide it. That range of motion may be problematical for you. The greater the range of motion, the more danger you get into this kind of momentum thing that as you slide your foot back, that’s fine. But as you slide it too far forward as a consequence of how far back you slid it, then it may just catch. The last thing you want is to get those little catching jarring pieces means. If necessary, slightly restrict the range of motion that you feel capable of, particularly initially. Start low and build slow.

Stationary bike

Similarly to the electrical trainers, there’s no real jarring impact, which is why often lower backs are comfortable with it. Make sure that the position you’re in isn’t aggravating your lower back. Your lower back doesn’t like curving forwards. Then when you’re on that stationary bike, it’s important to park your bottom behind you. When you’re leaning forwards onto those handlebars, maintain the arch in your lower back because spending a long time with your lower back curl forwards can aggravate it. However, you may find that standing for long periods tends to aggravate your lower back. In which case you might actually be better, slightly curled forward as you lean forward towards those handlebars. If you can manage to exercise, get up a bit of a sweat without increasing your pain. Use it, but don’t abuse it.


It’s important to get plenty of daylight. It helps you sleep, which is important for rehabilitating your back. The treadmill is one of the best exercise equipment for lower back pain and also an alternative to getting outdoors. It’s relatively low impact if you walk. If you run, a slightly higher impact. Depending how you run, it may be less impact than running outdoors, particularly on pavements. Use it, but don’t abuse it. Keep it to a comfortable level. Don’t go hell for leather and regret it then. Start walking, and if that’s comfortable, you may be able to progress to a light jog. If that’s not comfortable, ease it back down to walking. Use the treadmill to build up your walking and possibly to build up running.

Stepping machine

It’s very low impact. The challenge is that it has a very restricted range of motion. You’re only moving in one plane of motion. You may need to bring down the range of motion that you would normally do. Climbers have come into the news recently with great popularity and these kind of climbing, but staying in one place machines. Reduce the range of motion suit. Your knees are just a little bit up, rather than trying to get them all the way up to your chest. Remember: use it, but don’t abuse it.

Kettlebell (the best exercise equipment for lower back pain)

If you’ve got to the point where you can start to think about more dynamic movement and movement against resistance, use the kettlebell. You shouldn’t do it until you’ve have done a lot of groundwork in how to stabilize your lower back, how to move from positions of strength and control your movement. Get a good kettlebell instructor. Make sure you know how to stabilize your lower back and move in a controlled way. Then build momentum.

The kettlebell is super handy for building up your strength and also your confidence. You have to be really careful, but training with kettlebells is a fantastic way to learn that your lower back is actually very robust and that you’re building it from week to week into a strong part of your anatomy, rather than perceiving of it as a weakness in your body. It is the best exercise equipment for lower back pain.

If you’d like a free online assessment of lower back pain / sciatica, click the link.