Abdominal Exercises for Back Problems

The following abdominal exercises for back problems can reduce back pain, lower the chances of back injury and help you recover from mild back injury. Most people don't realize how connected abdominal strength and back issues are related. The muscles that support your core-meaning your back muscles, abdominals, oblique and gluteus muscles-are all interconnected, so your back health is very much so related to your abdominal strength.

There are several muscle groups that work to support the back, preventing stress and strain on the various muscles, ligaments and tendons that can be injured when the back becomes vulnerable. Extensor muscles-back and gluteus muscles-straighten your back when you stand and support your hip movements when you do things like walk. Flexor muscles-your abdominal muscles-support your body as your stand up straight or bend forward and back. Your oblique muscles help stabilize your spine and help you maintain proper posture. It's important to work all of these muscles when you are dealing with back problems.

If you have back problems, you should slowly work into doing the following ab workouts with the intention of strengthening your abdominals, which will benefit your back muscles. Don't do too much at once; you don't want to risk injuring your already vulnerable back. Start with low numbers of repetitions and slowly but surely work your way up to more challenging workouts. Do not work your abdominals to the point of feeling sore as you will risk injuring your back because of the amount of stress you will be placing on these muscles.

Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back and place your arms at your sides. Bend your knees, keeping your feet on the ground, sliding your feet towards your buttocks. Gently lift and tilt your pelvis, squeezing your buttocks gently as you lift and tilt your pelvis until you can feel your abdominal and back muscles tighten and engage. Hold this position for five seconds, then slowly release. Repeat ten times. This exercise should be done with an emphasis on using your abdominal muscles and your lower back muscles. Try not to use your legs or gluteus muscles for more than stabilization.

Gentle Crunches
Lie on the floor on your back. Bend your knees, keeping your feet on the ground, sliding your feet towards your buttocks. Cross your arms over your chest. Gently and slowly engage your abdominal muscles and lift your head and upper chest off the floor. Gently lie back down. You've probably done regular crunches; these crunches are a slow, gentle, controlled version of the fast and jerky crunches you've probably done in aerobics class. Repeat exercise until you have performed 25 gentle crunches. Stretch, relax, and repeat for one more set.

Oblique Twists
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly and tighten the buttocks to help you stabilize your lower body since you will not want to twist your hips as you do this exercise, but rather will want to keep them still. Extend your arms at shoulder-height and gently twist so your arms are extended to your front and back. Twist back to your original position, and then continue to rotate such that you are facing the opposite direction and are again pointing to the front and back on the other side of your body. Continue rotating, engaging your oblique muscles at your sides as you twist and release, and twist and release. After 25 rotations, take a break to stretch, then repeat again.

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