5 Effective Core Exercises That Won’t Hurt Your Lower Back

 

Low-back pain is one of the biggest limiters of performance an athlete can experience. This can be caused by a number of things, including tight hamstrings, poor mechanics and technique, and tight hip flexors. This is made worse by weak core strength.

 

Problem is, popular core exercises such as Sit-Ups are notorious for tightening the hip flexors, leading to issues around the pelvis. Combined with flexion of the spine, this leads to even more pain

 

When training the core, athletes often focus on muscles instead of movements. The core can move in four directions and can brace against a force from all of those directions. Below are examples of these movements as well as their “anti” movements—bracing against force going the opposite direction.

Flexion – Sit Up
Anti-Flexion – Walking with good posture
Lateral Flexion – Leaning sideways to get something deep in your pocket
Anti-Lateral Flexion – Carrying a heavy object in one hand, keeping your body upright
Rotation – A golf swing
Anti-Rotation – Resisting getting your stick lifted in a hockey game
Extension – Lifting an object off the ground.
Anti-Extension – Keeping your ribs on top of your hips while pressing overhead

 

Below are five exercises that will allow you to train a variety of core movements, all while leaving the low back pain at home.

 

McGill Crunch

Movements Trained: Flexion

Dr. Stuart McGill is the industry’s leading expert on back pain. He has created this crunch variation to provide all of the benefits of a Sit-Up with none of the downsides.

 

Coaching Points:

Hands under lower back
Right foot close to butt as comfortable
Left leg straight
Left toes pulled toward shin
Elbows off floor
Eyes towards the ceiling
Switch sides midway through set
Sets/Reps: 3-4×8-10 each side

 

Barbell Slash

Core Movements Trained: Anti-Lateral Flexion

This exercise is a great finisher for an upper-body day, once your shoulders are already fried it can take this exercise to the next level.

 

Coaching Points:

Hips facing forward
Shoulderson top of hips
Outside hand palm up, Inside hand palm down
Arms straight
No shrugging at top of movement
Sets/Reps: 3-4×10 each side

 

Cable Deadbug

Core Movements Trained: Anti-Extension

The Cable Deadbug combines shoulder stability, core endurance and a whole lot of concentration into one exercise.

 

Coaching Points:

Press low back into floor
Don’t move leg before other is finished moving
Arms straight
Hands over shoulders
Sets/Reps: 3-4×20

 

Dumbbell Suitcase Carry

Core Movements Trained: Anti-Lateral Flexion

The Suitcase Carry not only trains your core, it also blasts your grip strength.

 

Coaching Points:

Shoulders on top of hips
Walk in straight line
Arm straight
Pinch shoulder blades
Sets/Reps: 3-4×30-40 sec. each side

 

Half-Kneeling Cable Chop

Core Movements Trained: Anti-Rotation

This exercise was created and popularized by Gray Cook. Taking the lower body out of this movement allows the athlete to focus on complete control of their core. This trains core stability without risking injury or low back pain.

 

Coaching Points:

Inside leg forward
Ribcage on top of hips
Arms straight
Glutes squeezed
Use a controlled pace
Sets/Reps: 3-4×8 each side

 

Source: http://www.stack.com/a/5-effective-core-exercises-that-wont-hurt-your-lower-back?

 

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