A strong core can stabilize your spine to help keep your lower back healthy and pain-free. The muscles and ligaments surrounding your spine can weaken with age or from an injury, which can make movements like twisting, stretching, lifting, and bending difficult.
The lower back often has to compensate for this lack of mobility, which places greater stress and burden on its muscles. People with back pain often fear movement, which can make their back stiff and their pain even worse. Three exercise that will help make your spine stable: the curl-up, the side plank, and the bird-dog.
1. Lie on your back. Extend one leg straight out on the floor. Bend the knee of your other leg so your foot is flat on the floor.
2. Put your hands under your lower back to maintain the natural arch of your spine.
3. On an exhalation, lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor as though they were all connected. (Come off the floor just enough to feel tension in your muscles.) Don’t bend your lower back, tuck your chin, or let your head tilt back.
4. Hold for 10 seconds and then slowly lower yourself down.
5. Complete ten reps, then switch leg positions and repeat the sequence to complete the exercise.
1. Lie on your side with your upper body propped up on your arm, with your forearm on the floor and your elbow underneath your shoulder. Place your free hand on the top of your hip. Pull your feet back, so your knees are at a 90° angle.
2. Lift your hips off the floor so they are in line with the rest of your body, and hold for up to 10 seconds. Try to maintain a straight line from your head to your knees. Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor.
3. Repeat five times, then flip to your other side and repeat the sequence to complete the exercise.
Variation: For a challenge, straighten your legs instead of bending them.
1. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees.
2. Raise your left arm and extend it forward as far as possible while simultaneously lifting your right leg and extending it straight behind your body. Keep both the raised arm and leg parallel to the floor. Ensure your hips are aligned with your torso and not tilted to one side.
3. Hold for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position.
4. Repeat five times, then switch to the other arm and leg and repeat the sequence to complete