Strengthening your core is essential to living an enjoyable, functional and healthy life without the presence of back pain. Not only can core training help prevent back pain all together, but also help manage symptoms and get patients back to doing the things they love! But before we get any further, it’s important to understand what the ‘core’ is.
The core is casual term describing a series of muscles that include the transverse abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor and even the diaphragm. These muscles can’t be seen from the outside as they lie very deep, but they certainly play a major role in how those exterior structures feel and operate. When these deep core muscles are healthy, strong and working as a team, they help increase intra-abdominal pressure which acts to stabilise and protect your lumbar spine.
Often patients with low back pain have weak and under-trained core muscles which can affect posture and increase the stress on your low back. So, implementing core training into your weekly routine can have significant benefits in the management of low back pain and preventing recurrent episodes. Plus…who doesn’t love a set of rock hard abs?
Choosing the right exercises is important for the success and sustainability of training your core on a consistent basis, so we’ve done the hard work for you! We have selected our top 3 core exercises that have been proven to help strengthen the core and give you the most bang for your buck.
With your arms shoulder-width apart, your body weight should be distributed across your wrist, elbow and toes. If you would like to regress this exercise, you should start on knees.
Your head should be facing the ground to help with the alignment of your neck and back.
Once this position is achieved you should focus on contracting your core musculature and maintain a stable, controlled position.
How to do it:
Starting on your hands shoulder-width apart and on your knees in the all-fours position, focus on bracing through your core
Once stable in this position, bring one arm off the ground and raise it in front of you, staying parallel with your body
Simultaneously as this arm lifts, you should also take one leg off the ground and extend your leg backwards as if your kicking behind you. Again, this leg should be parallel with the body keeping your hips level.
If you would like to regress this exercise, you can do the arm and leg movements individually.
Curl Up/ Partial Sit Up
How to do it:
Lie back keeping your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent
With your hands across your chest or behind your head (advanced) raise your shoulders off the ground whilst contracting your core muscles. Focus on exhaling during this phase.
Once you reach the top, pause for 1 second before slowly lowering yourself back down.
If you are experiencing low back pain or would like to learn more about core training, the friendly physiotherapists at Pivotal Motion Physiotherapy are here to help you! Contact us on (07) 3352 5116 or make an appointment online!