3 Critical Core Exercises to help with Lower Back Pain
As a Chiropractor in Gilbert for 20 years, I am quite frequently asked about the best exercises to improve core strength and prevent lower back pain. Here are the 3 best exercises you can do to help keep your core strong and your lower back calm according to Stuart McGill, Ph.D from Waterloo University in his book “Lower Back Disorders”. Check him out here. https://uwaterloo.ca/kinesiology/people-profiles/stuart-mcgill. Dr. McGill recommends what he calls the Big 3 Core Exercises. These 3 simple moves can turn even the weakest abdomen into a ripped, washboard of awesomeness!
Abdominal Curl Up
#1- Abdominal Curl – This first move is very basic but also very essential in activating all the muscles around the abdomen. To perform the exercise simply lay on your back with your knees bent. Once in position tighten all the muscles around the abdomen at once. This means we tighten the abs, the oblique’s and the lower back erectors. Now with all these muscle groups activated we attempt to do a very small abdominal curl to the point where just your shoulder blades barley leave the floor. While doing this it is very important to not allow your abdominal muscles to rise up, you must fight to keep them flat and feel like your abs are sliding together. Also, remember to not use your neck as a lever, don’t grab your head and put your chin to your chest. Rather, let your head rest in your hands and let your hands hold the weight of your head with your elbows out to the side. Try to hold this position for 5 seconds and then relax. Start with 5 sets of 5 second holds and work up to 5 sets with a 15 second hold. Gaining control over the abdominal muscles is key in helping Lower Back Pain.
#2 – The Hunting Dog – This exercise is done while on all fours on your hands and knees. It is very important to keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Now to perform the exercise you simply raise one leg straight back so its out straight while maintaining your weight distribution over the other knee, don’t let your hips slide over the knee on the ground and don’t let your pelvis rotate up on the side with the leg extended back, keep the pelvis flat. If done properly you should feel a lot of pressure in the hand on the side of the straight leg and also in the knee on the ground. Hold this position for 30 – 45 seconds and do 3 sets on each side. Eventually try to work up to holding each rep for a minute. If you get really good at this you can make it harder by raising the opposite arm straight out as well, so if your right leg is back your left arm is out. Remember to keep your head and body flat and in line to tie together the muscles of the upper back and pelvis to help with Lower Back Pain.
Front and Side Plank
#3 – The Front and Side Plank – This movement is simple and easy but can be very challenging. To perform this exercise, begin by lying on your stomach. Now put your elbows on the ground under your shoulders. At the same time bend your knees to 90 degrees. The exercise begins when you raise your abdomen up off the ground and become flat like a plank, bridged up between your knees and elbows. You will feel this in all the muscles of your core. Hold this position for 30-45 seconds and do 3 sets. Be sure to keep your head up and in line with your torso. Work up to holding this for 1 minute. When you get good at this you can make it harder by now bridging between your elbows and feet bringing your knees off the ground. If that’s to easy then add in a left and right side plank, beginning with the knee on the ground and the legs bent 90 degrees, body straight and elbow under the shoulder, holding for 30-45 seconds working up to a minute. When side planks get easy then bring the knee off the ground and bridge between the elbow and foot like the front plank. Planks are a great exercise for helping with Lower Back Pain.
3 Days Per Week with 3 Simple Moves to help with Lower Back Pain
If you perform these three simple exercises 3 days per week you will see that your abdominal area will be tighter and your lower back will feel better. Give them a try and tell me how great they are. If your lower back pain persists even with these exercises then it is probably a good idea to schedule a consultation in our Chiropractic office in Gilbert. (480) 892-0022.
Until Next Time!