You only need a foam roller to build core strength and reduce lower back pain with this four-move routine

Strengthen your core to improve your posture and prevent lower back pain with this quick routine

A woman using a foam roller to massage aching muscles in her back
(Image credit: Getty / Vladdeep)

With so many of us now spending our days sitting in uncomfortable seats and leaning over laptops while working from home, an aching lower back can seem inevitable. However, this doesn't have to be the case. 

Forging a strong core is one of the best ways to combat back pain, supporting your torso and improving your posture to keep your spine aligned. It can also take strain away from your lower back when lifting things, lowering your risk of injury. 

By sitting down for large portions of each day, our core is left weak and underused. That's where this workout comes in handy, using just a foam roller to activate and strengthen your midsection muscles. 

Created by Stef Williams, a personal trainer and founder of the workout app WeGlow, the routine consists of four simple moves you can do at home, after a workout or even in front of the TV. 

Try performing the moves 10 times each as a circuit, repeating this circuit three times for a short-yet-effective core-strengthening session. 

Watch Williams demonstrate the four moves below, then add them into your weekly plans to fight back against back pain. 

Watch Stef Williams' four-move foam roller core-strengthening routine

The first exercise in this routine—the pelvic tilt— is the only one that won't require a foam roller. The movement in Williams' demonstration video may look minimal, but there's a knack to getting it right. 

To perform a pelvic tilt, lie on your back and inhale to draw your rib cage in. The natural shape of your lower back should create an arch between it and the floor. Hold that position for a second, then exhale and think about pulling your belly button towards your spine. As you do this, tilt your pelvis upwards. This should cause your lower back to lie flat against the floor. 

For the remaining exercises, you'll need to lie on your back and place a foam roller under your hips. During each one, think about using your core muscles to control the motion of your legs, keeping your movements slow and controlled throughout. 

If you enjoyed this routine, know that there are plenty of other ways you can use your foam roller. Try these seven foam roller exercises to ease muscle pain, or take a look at our feature on the five best moves to release aching muscles.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.