Lower back issues, a chronic pain in the butt for some, can be tied to overuse … but for most of us, they’re a sign of weakness.
The multifidus muscle group is part of your deep core line, a vertical column of muscle connected myofascially that keeps you upright, balanced, and pain-free (if it’s strong.)
This muscle group runs from the sides of one vertebra up the middle of the next vertebra upwards. They are responsible for back stability and produce only small postural movements all day long.
You can activate this group in a very powerful way doing “this one weird trick”: plank.
Don’t groan. Plank, or modified plank with knees down, is the best way to strengthen the multifidus. It’s not only a strengthener for deep core, but it also strengthens superficial core muscles, like your rectus abdominus (ie, the beachbody six-pack.)
The key to a successful plank: Do not allow your butt to stick up or hips to sag. Work up to three repetitions of one minute each. Increase the difficulty by balancing your forearms on a stability ball. Another modification is alternately touching knees to floor, which fires up the obliques.
So instead of reaching for a bottle of Tylenol the next time you feel lower back pain, I recommend you hit the plank. It may be weird for some of you, but I promise: It works.