Your core muscles are called that because they’re, well, important. Your abs, obliques and other trunk muscles are responsible for two ultimate functions — transferring force between your lower and upper body and protecting your spine from injury.
Everyone should pay attention to building and maintaining their core, but those with low back pain and similar problems should be especially vigilant because lack of core strength could be causing those issues.
Your ab muscles hook directly into your spine, so if they’re weaker than they should be some of the load they’re designed to carry is sent to your back muscles, which already have plenty of heavy lifting to do with twisting, walking, lifting and other basic movements.
Try these exercises — if you already have back pain and these movements aggravate it, switch to less taxing movements for the time being.
- Lie on your stomach with your body in a straight line. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle and close to the sides of your body. Rest your forearms on the floor and interlace your fingers.
- Gently push your body up using your forearms while continuing to hold your body in a straight line.
- Brace and tighten your core muscles during the entire movement.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, release, and repeat 3 times.
LUNGES WITH TWISTS
- Step your right foot out in front so that when your leg bends, the right knee is over the right ankle.
- Bend your left leg toward the floor.
- With arms at your head or extended out wide, turn your torso to the right.
- Turn back to your front and straighten your legs. Repeat 10-15 times on both sides.
- Lie flat with your fingertips behind your head, just above your ears. Your elbows should be in line with your chin or ears.
- Bend your legs at the knees with both feet placed flat on the floor. They should remain there throughout the movement.
- Raise your head and shoulders off the ground pushing your chest toward your hips. Your abs should tighten during the movement.