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Core Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

Did you know that a weak core is often associated with back pain and other problems? Your abdominal muscles are actually the front anchor of your spine.  You also have other muscle groups that encircle your spine around the sides and back, together with the abdominal muscles they form a “girdle effect” and are referred to as the core.  More often than being weak, there can be postural distortions and imbalances in strength, function or flexibility of these co-operative muscles which can lead to dysfunction of the core.  As you can guess, when muscles work improperly, injury can happen!

Do you work out your core muscles? If not, here are a few easy ideas to add to your exercise routine.

1. Side bridge. While laying on your side, prop yourself up onto your forearm (which should be kept directly below your shoulder. Your top foot should rest on the ground in front of your bottom foot. While maintaining the natural curve of your spine, lift your hips off the ground and hold the pose for 3-5 breaths. Do both sides, then repeat.

2. Reach and extend. Place your hands and knees on the floor as if you were in a table top position. Your knees should be directly under your hips, and your hands under your shoulders. Keep your core muscles engaged to support your back so that it doesn’t sag. Extend one leg back in a straight position, and with the opposite arm, reach forward. Broaden your upper back so you don’t sag between your shoulders. Hold for 3 – 5 breaths.  Retract your limbs slowly and repeat evenly on both sides.

3. Superman. While lying face down on your stomach, reach your arms out in front of you and allow your head and upper chest to elevate with your arms if they naturally do so.  All the while keeping your pelvic and lower abdominal muscles engaged enough that your “tail”  stays slightly tucked and you don’t increase the arch in your back.  Hold this for 2 – 3 relaxed breaths.  Now do this similarly by extending your legs behind you enough that your thighs may lift slightly. Always keep both hip bones equally weighted and in contact with the ground.   When you can do this comfortably enough that you feel relaxed and that both left and right sides are equally engaged during the exercise, then you can increase the challenge by lifting both arms and legs at the same time.  If you need to bring the level of challenge down, start with just one arm or one leg at a time.  To elevate the level of challenge even further with both arms and legs lifted, flutter kick arms, legs or both while maintaining a stable core.

Looking for Another Back Boost?

We’re here when you need us. We regularly work with patients to devise custom care plans that include adjustments, focused exercises and stretching to help their spine and nervous system work optimally. Schedule a visit with us today to get started.

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