I’m sure everyone has heard how important “the core” is to help stabilize your spine. But, what exactly is the “core.” Your core is made up of the muscles surrounding your spine, including the pelvic floor, deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis), outer hip muscles and the lumbar paraspinals (multifidi muscles) surrounding the spine. When those above-mentioned muscles are working together, your spine is stabilized. The “core” muscles are providing your spine with it’s own back-brace.
Below are basic, yet very effective exercises to strengthen your core. These exercises should never cause pain. If they do or you are in too much pain to attempt them, please consult your local physical therapist or call Dr. Amanda DeRosa at 619-693-8047 to set up your FREE 20 minute consult.
1.) Transverse Abdominis (TA) marches- To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent. Activate your transverse abdominis by drawing your belly button towards your spine, as if you were going to put on a tight pair of pants. While keeping your transverse abdominis contracted and your back remaining flat on the ground, slowly raise one leg up, lower and repeat on the opposite side (mimic a stepping pattern). The key to this exercise is to always have your TA activated and your back flat on the ground while you raise and lower your leg.
Superman- Lying on your stomach with your arms outstretched and legs straight, simultaneously bring your legs and arms off the ground and hold for 5 seconds, while squeezing your glutes at the top. Return to the start position and repeat for 2x10 reps.
Bird Dogs- Start on your hands and knees, about shoulder-width apart. Draw your belly button towards your spine and keep your back flat. Reach your right arm out, while simultaneously reaching your left leg out, trying not to let your pelvis rotate. Return to start position and repeat on the opposite side. Try 2x10 reps.
The above-mentioned exercises are a great starting point for strengthening the muscles surrounding the spine. It can take 4-6 weeks to build strength, so be patient. You hard work, consistency and dedication to making your spine healthy, will help keep you away from pain and the doctor’s office.
If you are having pain, it is best to consult with your local physical therapist prior to attempting any of the above mentioned exercises. Are you local to San Diego? Give me a call to set up your FREE 20 minute consult at 619-693-8047.