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Abs and Core Exercises Safe for the Lower Back

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Don't Go Back in Time to These Old School Exercises. Ouch!

Don’t Go Back in Time to These Old School Exercises. Ouch!

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

Alexandra: First, test your comfort and ability to engage your abs (not back) with this easy tip from our video, and post, Easy Way to Find Your Abs.

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.

 

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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).

Click on the link to our video showing the Right and Wrong Way to Do Reverse Curls. Or go for the whole kit and kaboodle and read our post on how to take full advantage of reverse curls.

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.

The most pain-free exercise you can benefit from today and every day is to subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above. Please share and subscribe!

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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9 Responses to Abs and Core Exercises Safe for the Lower Back

  1. Debbie January 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Thanks, ladies for the great tips for abdominal exercises for those with back issues. I admit I didn’t watch the vid yet (lying next to my sleeping hubby, typing on my ipad), but I will tomorrow. I’m always on the lookout for exercises I can use on my older clients and students, and as always, you provide several options. Thanks!
    Debbie recently posted..Vegan Recipe: Potato Tornadoes Starring Silk Almond Milk.My Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit January 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      We use this exercise w/ our older adult students, and it works really well. It also goes well for our university students, who also have back issues, due to lack of PE in schools over the past years.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Pain Free Movement in 2013: Who Wants In?My Profile

  2. Pamela Hernandez January 22, 2013 at 3:47 am #

    Thanks for the great demo of the reverse curl. For some reason that is a hard one for people to get.

  3. Calla Gold January 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I love how you ladies keep exercise accessible to everyone. A lot of people just kind of… stop… when their backs go out, and they have a fear of getting moving again. Great demonstration, great tips, and great work!

    Calla Gold

  4. Jody - Fit at 55 January 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    I love the sharing of this!!! People can just get worse back issues by doing nothing. Of course you have to be safe &; that is where great trainers like you two come in!!!!

    Love the videos & the sky/tree view! Hmmmmmm, how many times did you say subscribe? ;)
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..Gratitude Monday; Weather; Cookies; VideosMy Profile

  5. linda honsberger October 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    i recognize some of these from your Friday class!

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