Abs and Core Exercises Safe for the Lower Back

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 K and A: What are some back safe core exercises? Can you give me some helpful tips for ab exercises that are safe for the back? I had surgery awhile ago and am still scared to do certain things. 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? Cassie, 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.


Ultimate Abs binder imageBefore trying the moves we’re about to suggest, take a  look at our recently released  “Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50,” (over 23 videos, 10 modules, popular abs questions addressed). Click the link then return.

Back to our regular programming!

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.

Do abdominal exercises every day if you want! The abs are endurance, not power muscles so don't really need a day's rest in between. Click To Tweet

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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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

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