The spine doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute understand that your spine health is connected to your overall health. To improve your overall health, you should exercise and eat right. But that alone doesn’t help your spine. So take it to the next level with core strength exercises that will benefit your spine and keep you pain-free.
Since there are varying levels of exercises, start with the easier ones and work your way up to the more difficult activities. They all help strengthen your core — the muscles in your abdomen, chest and mid-back. Remember, if you already have back issues, see your general practitioner or the spine doctors at SSI before starting any new exercise regimen.
Spine doctors recommend that you consciously work your abdomen when doing these exercises:
- Pelvic Clench: While on your back with your knees comfortably bent, tighten the muscles in your lower abdomen and hold it for five seconds. It may help to clench your sphincter. The muscle you’re working runs just inside the very top of your thighs on each side. Repeat five times.
- Beginner Crunch: Start on your back with your knees bent and your arms across your chest. Lift your legs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, crossing your ankles. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor and hold it for 10 seconds. Lower back to the floor. Repeat five times.
- Torso Press: Start on your back with your knees bent. Cross your arms over your chest. Using just your abdomen, curl your torso until your mid-back is off the floor. Hold it for five seconds and then lower yourself slowly. Repeat five times.
- Bicycle Crunch: Start on your back with your hands behind your head. Raise your feet slightly off the floor. Pull one leg at a time, knee bent, up toward your head while simultaneously pointing the opposite side elbow to your knee. Alternate legs a total of 10 times.
- Plank Pose: Start by resting on your stomach. Rise onto your elbows, clasping your hands together. Keeping your back straight and legs together, rise up onto your toes. Clench your abdomen and hold for 10 seconds. Lower yourself down to rest. Repeat five times.
Working with an Exercise Ball
These exercises are deceptively difficult, so for your spine health, be careful or work with a trainer:
- Prone Walkout: Start with your chest on the ball. Walk your hands forward, keeping your abdomen clenched and your back straight, until the ball rolls all the way down to your feet. Then walk your hands back. Repeat this three to five times.
- Sitting Walkout: Start by sitting on the ball with your back straight. Walk your feet forward, rolling onto your back and rolling the ball up to your neck. Again, keep your abdomen clenched. Lift and straighten one leg at a time, then roll back. Repeat three to five times.
- Ball Crunches: Start by sitting on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Lean back as far as you can while keeping your feet in place, rolling the ball up to your mid-back. Sit back up using your abdomen. Repeat five times.
- Partial Twist: Start by sitting on the ball. Raise your arms directly overhead as you lean back to about 30 degrees. With one arm at a time, reach to your opposite knee. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Your spine health will benefit from these exercises, so you’ll be less likely to need the services of spine doctors in the future. Your overall health will benefit too.