Core Abdominal Exercises

Core abdominal exercises are essential for maintaining and supporting the lower back. Proper ab workouts can stabilize the core of your body so that your lower back is less prone to injury.

Abdominal strengthening, however, should not be used as a solo strategy for treating lower back pain.

If you’re experiencing a lot of pain, it’s necessary to alleviate that pain with appropriate treatment before embarking on a program of core strengthening exercises.

Many routines of abdominal exercises are unnecessarily stressful to the lower back. The last thing you want is to re-aggravate lower back muscles once you’ve gotten them under control.

The following is a world-class routine of abdominal exercises I learned from Mark Allen, 6-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion.

The movements of this routine keep the lower back in a stable position at all times. While these movements are very easy on the lower back, they are tremendously dynamic for the abdominals, addressing all the muscles of the abdominal core.

As with any new exercise routine, start slowly, and gradually build up.


3-Part Core Abdominal Exercises



Core Abdominal Exercises for the Upper, Lower, & Middle Abdominals

The Upper Abdominals

The starting position

1) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.

2) Lace your hands behind your head and bring your head off the floor.

3) Now, bring your knees up toward your chest and rest them there. Move your knees one at time if that’s easier. If you feel like you need more support to hold your knees up like that, position yourself near a wall and let your feet rest against it.

The movement

1) While maintaining your knees in this raised position, lower your head back down and touch the ground. Don’t rest there. Just touch and come back up again.

2) Make certain you keep the small of your back flat against the ground during the entire movement.

3) Repeat 10 times, lowering and raising your head. Don’t rest when you reach the ground. Just touch it and come back up again. The knees remain stationery. The small of the lower back remains flat. (Repeats for advanced users: 20-40x)


The Lower Abdominals

The starting position

1) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.

2) Lace your hands behind your head and bring your head off the floor.

3) Now, bring your knees up toward your chest and rest them there. Move your knees one at time if that’s easier.

The movement

1) While maintaining your head in this raised position, lower your feet down and touch the ground. Don’t rest there. Just touch and come back up again.

2) Make certain you keep the small of your back flat against the ground during the entire movement.

3) Repeat 10 times, lowering and raising your feet. Don’t rest when you reach the ground. Just touch it and come back up again. The head remains stationery. The small of the lower back remains flat. (Repeats for advanced users: 20-40x)


The Middle Abdominals

The starting position

1) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.

2) Lace your hands behind your head and bring your head off the floor.

3) Now, bring your knees up toward your chest and rest them there. Move your knees one at time if that’s easier.

The movement

1) Lower your head and your feet down at the same time and touch the ground. Don’t rest there. Just touch and come back up again.

2) Make certain you keep the small of your back flat against the ground during the entire movement.

3) Repeat 10 times, lowering and raising both your head and your feet at the same time. Don’t rest when you reach the ground. Just touch it and come back up again. The small of the lower back remains flat. (Repeats for advanced users: 20-40x)


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Stephen O'Dwyer, cnmt

Neuromuscular Therapist & Pain Relief Researcher

Stephen O'Dwyer, CNMT

FOUNDER

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