Three Abdominal Exercises That Are Easy on the Back
A recent article by Harvard Health Publications revealed the hidden dangers of crunches and sit-ups. They describe how these activities can lead to lower back discomfort by working against the natural contour of your lower spine and by strengthening certain muscle groups that actually end up straining the lower back. Let’s explore a few exercises that can replace sit-ups to strengthen your core!
By holding your body in a planking position, you not only strengthen your abdominal muscles, but you are also recruiting lower back muscles as well. Planking is a much more balanced approach to strengthening your core and not only avoids strain on your lower back, but strengthens it in the process!
Just like the plank, this is another great exercise for your entire core — not just your abs! Start by lying with your back and feet flat on the floor with your knees bent about 90 degrees (the same position you would use for crunches or sit-ups). To perform a pelvic lift, raise your tailbone up off the floor and then extend your hips up towards the ceiling. Your lower back will also lift off of the floor, but keep your head and shoulders put. Similar to a plank, your body should be in a straight line extending from your knees down through your hips and to your shoulders. Hold this position for a few seconds and then release back to the floor. Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions.
You may have heard these called “six inches” before, but this is another core exercise that’s easy on your back. Just lie down with your back flat on the floor. Keeping your legs straight and your feet together, slowly lift your heels off the ground towards the ceiling. Stop and hold your legs approximately “six inches” off the ground. Try to hold this position a little longer each day! Some variations you can look up online include “windshield wipers” and “scissors.”