August 6, 2014
The spine is supported by many muscles in the back, but it is also protected and supported by the muscles of the abdomen or core. Many people do not realize how important it is for the spine to be supported in both the front and back. It is especially important for those with a weakened spine or back muscles to develop strength in the abdominal muscles.
Core strength can be built with exercises that do not strain the back. Many people find that standard crunches, sit-ups and other abdominal exercises are painful, especially if they have a tight or injured lower back. Instead of doing these back straining workouts, which could ultimately do more harm than good, simply increasing one’s time in the plank and side plank positions is very beneficial for strengthening the core. If you have trouble with the standard plank at first, you can modify it by lowering your knees and work up to standard form. Both of these exercises are simple ways to build core strength without hurting or straining the back. Many back patients are found to have a weak core, which can increase their pain and suffering, as their spine lacks frontal support.
If you can hold both plank and side plank poses for at least a minute each, work on increasing to three minutes. Once your core is strong enough to hold both poses for at least three minutes, you might want to ask your doctor or physical therapist if pilates or yoga might be good methods for continuing to build core strength.
Images courtesy of YogaOutlet.com