Movement is the best treatment for low back pain and recovery from discectomy.
3rd core exercise in our top 4...
Another great core activation drill. Awesome for improving Multifidus function; neck & shoulder stability as well as overall core stability.
For full explanation of the exercise please visit "stability exercises" in our exercise library.
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2nd core exercise in our top Four...
This is an awesome drill for core activation. The video pretty much says it all. I use this daily with clients and it's a great follow on exercise from the previous breathing drill. Also, don't forget to BREATHE throughout this drill! Exhale as your leg is lowering. Holding your breath is a cheat ;-)
Give it a go :-)
Four of my top core exercises everyone should make a part of their exercise regime...
First up is...
The first being BREATHING:
Before you laugh, yes, I did say breathing!
Simple right? Not really. Most of us (myself being a culprit at times) are dysfunctional breathers, this being due to stress; injury; emotional issues; poor health etc. We breathe around 20,000+ breaths per day, that is a lot of opportunity for dysfunction.
We use our core muscles for breathing; simplified our diaphragm & pelvic floor contract together on the inhale to create Intra Abdominal Pressure (IAP), this stabilises our spine & we recruit our remaining core muscles on the exhale.
The dysfunction comes in when we either hold in our stomachs for long periods (females being biggest culprits) or start taking shallower breaths. This makes it extremely hard for normal functional breathing and requires us to recruit our neck and chest muscles with every breath.
To learn how to work on your breathing keep reading. I would highly recommend ANYONE with lower back pain to focus on their breathing especially but really EVERYONE should be doing it...
Visit our exercise library and have a read through our Stability Exercises the first 3 exercises that come up which are about BREATHING.
I wanted to bring attention to the fact that there is a difference between causing a flexed position in the lumbar spine (lower back) and creating a neutral position at the pelvis. When your pelvis is in a neutral position, it doesn't necessarily mean that your lumbar spine is going to be in a flexed position.
I say this because I often find that people who have a history of lumbar disc bulges or herniations seem to perceive a neutral pelvic position as lumbar flexion. They also tend to be afraid of moving their pelvis out of an anterior tilt as they use it as a protective mechanism to avoid lumbar flexion.
The main issue I have with this is that although a flexed lumbar spine (particularly under load) causes disc compression, so does an excessive anterior pelvic tilt, not only does this alter the pressure at the discs but it also causes Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) compression & encourages core instability. The majority of people who have excessive anterior pelvic tilts also have dysfunctional glutes (glute activation decompresses the SIJ). One of the roles of your glutes is to create a posterior tilt of the pelvis. If you never let your pelvis move out of anterior tilt then you are disabling your glutes (compare the above two pictures again and tell me which one can you see more glutes in) and you can probably add obliques; abdominals; TvA to that dysfunctional list too. You can tell by the creases of my top that in the first picture on the left my abs are stretched and elongated and in the picture on the right, they are contracted. Stretched abs = unprotected and compressed lower back!
Your body will find stability where it can if it is lacking and this can be in the form of SIJ compression due to dysfunction in your core musculature. Make sure you aren't forcing yourself into anterior tilt, whether under load (lifting or pushing weight) or not but working on pelvic stability instead so you know where neutral is.
Don't feed a habit...CHANGE a habit!
So your personal trainer gets you to do sit-ups to "strengthen" your abs and get that six-pack. And you think it's gonna happen...
The majority of the population are walking around with dysfunctional abdominal muscles which means that they either have a sequencing problem with the muscles that function to create flexion at the spine and hips or that they have an imbalance in strength/function of these muscles. Or both, which is often the case.
This only leads to one outcome - increased pressure on the lumbar discs
Yip, not a six-pack, not strong abs but more than likely a disc herniation somewhere down the track. It could take weeks/months/years to develop.
I refuse to let any of my clients do sit-ups and refuse to do them myself for the above reasons. There are multiple exercises out there that are heaps more effective than the sit-up in improving abdominal function/strength and they are 100x safer!
The curl up is an acceptable exercise if only your shoulders leave the ground and you exhale as you crunch, think about drawing your lower ribs towards your pelvis. Don't pull on the back of your neck but just support it loosely with your hands.
Even more ideally, I have my favourite Top 4 abdominal exercises I like to use in order to safely and effectively develop a functional central stability system.