The two most often prescribed exercises for the lower back are the
Williams flexion and the McKenzie extension exercises.
Brief History of Williams Flexion Exercises:
"Dr. Paul Williams first published his exercise program in 1937 for
patients with chronic low back pain in response to his clinical
observation that the majority of patients who experienced low back
pain had degenerative vertebrae secondary to degenerative disk disease
(Williams 1937). These exercises were developed for men under 50 and
women under 40 years of age who had exaggerated lumbar lordosis, whose
x-ray films showed decreased disc space between lumbar spine segments
(L1-S1), and whose symptoms were chronic but low grade. The goals of
performing these exercises were to reduce pain and provide lower trunk
stability by actively developing the "abdominal, gluteus maximus, and
hamstring muscles as well as..." passively stretching the hip flexors
and lower back (sacrospinalis) muscles. Williams said: "The exercises
outlined will accomplish a proper balance between the flexor and the
extensor groups of postural muscles..." (Williams 1965, Williams 1937,
Blackburn 1981, Ponte et al.)."
Brief History of McKenzie Back Exercises:
"The McKenzie back extension exercises have been ordered by physicians
and prescribed by physical therapists for at least two decades
(McKenzie 1981). Robin McKenzie noted that some of his patients
reported lower back pain relief while in an extended position. This
went against the predominant thinking of Williams Flexion biased
exercises at this period of time."
The McKenzie Institute:
Diagrams of Williams Back Exercises:
Information on Williams exercises:
Information on Back Pain and Exercise:
As with any other fitness program, please consult with your personal
physician to see if these exercises are right for you. Usually
doctors in the US have handouts available on the Williams exercises as
lower back pain is a very common complaint.
I trust this is the information you require, but let me know via a
clarification request if I can assist you further.
Good lumbar health to you,
Google search terms:
Williams back/flexion exercises + diagrams