Abs and Core Exercises Safe for the Lower Back
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Dear Fun and Fit: Can you give me some helpful tips to work out my core? I had surgery in 2001 and still to this day am scared to do certain things to cause my back to hurt or go out. I’m ready to get over this fear and work on strengthening my abs and lower back so I can work out better in the gym. Should (abs exercises you recommend) be done every day or every other? I look forward to your advice. Thank you. Cassie W. Fenton, MO
Kymberly: Next, view our one minute video that offers the following back-safe obliques exercise. We suggest it because you have very little chance to arch or stress your lumbar region.
Side-to-Side Obliques Exercise
Lie on your back. Bend your knees and lift your legs in the air above your hips. The knees can be in towards your chest a bit; feet directly above the hips. Keeping both shoulders firmly anchored to the ground or mat and arms outstretched but below the plane of your shoulders, slowly bring your knees to the right then back to center then left. Go only as far as you can still keep your shoulders on the mat. Basically you are dropping the legs side to side in a hinge-like motion without using any momentum.
Reverse Curl Exercise
Next try reverse curls, which also target the core with little risk to the lower back For one, the hips are tucked (posterior tilt) throughout this move, so the lumbar spine has little chance to hyperextend or arch (anterior tilt).
As for frequency, with abdominal exercises you can do them every day if you want. The abs are endurance, not power muscles so don’t really need a day’s rest in between. Go by how your back feels.
Alexandra: After you’ve tried these, please check back in and let us know which exercises were most comfortable, which were most effective, and so on. We want to know how you progress.
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