Core Stability Exercises for the Lower Back – Part 3 of 3

Core Stability Exercises for the Lower Back – Part 3 of 3

 

Last week, the exercises shown were on floor, or static exercises to improve core strength. This week, the exercises are progressed to dynamic.

 

Floor / dynamic exercises

To develop a good level of strength endurance in the major trunk muscles. Overall the level of these exercises is intermediate to advanced:

 

  • Active straight-leg raise

 

Overview Requires a strong static contraction of the abdominals to stabilise the lumbar spine against the load of the legs. It also requires good active range of motion of the hamstrings

 

Level Intermediate/advanced

 

Muscles targeted
Rectus abdominis

 

Abdominal wall
Hip flexors

 

Technique Lie on your back with knees bent. Set your lumbar spine in neutral and brace the abs. Lift one leg up straight in the air, ensure your back does not move. Lift the other leg up, again keeping your back in place. (If the back cannot be stabilised during this movement, the exercise is too advanced and more static transversus stability control work will be needed first.)

 

Keeping one leg in the air, slowly lower the other down to the floor. Only go as far as you can until you feel the lumbar spine start to move. Placing your fingers under your back will help you to gauge when this happens. Keep bracing the abs and then lift the leg slowly back up. Repeat with the other leg. Perform sets of 5-10 reps, alternating legs

 

Progression Lower and raise both legs together:

 

  • Oblique crunch

 

Overview A good exercise for both the obliques and the abdominals

 

Level Intermediate
Muscles targeted
Rectus abdominis
Obliques

 

Technique Lie on your back with right ankle resting on left knee. Right arm is placed on the floor out to the side. Keeping the right shoulder down, curl the left shoulder up to the right knee. Crunch at the top and return slowly, under control. Perform sets of 15-30 reps on each side in turn. Avoid ‘head nodding’ during the movement: keep head off the floor and look forward throughout

 

Progression Hold a dumbbell in the hand by your head. Keep arm still so you are forced to raise the dumbbell using your abs and not your arm

  • Side-lying hip abduction

 

Overview This is an isolation exercise for gluteus medius. Strength in this muscle group has been shown to be useful in preventing lower-limb injuries in female athletes

 

Level Basic

 

Muscles targeted
Gluteus medius

 

Technique Lie on your side and set pelvis so your top hip is stacked above lower hip. Roll shoulders forward a little and brace the abs to control pelvic position. Lift the top leg slowly up and down, without hitching at the hip. Perform sets of 20-30 reps, each side in turn

 

Progression Weight the top leg with an ankle weight or tie a resistance band between your ankles and pull the band apart as you lift the leg:

 

  • Lying windscreen wipers

 

Overview An advanced active mobility exercise working the obliques and trunk rotation

 

Level Advanced

 

Muscles targeted
Rectus abdominis
Obliques

 

Technique Lie on your back with arms out to the sides. Lift legs straight up in the air until the hip is at 90 degrees. Set the lumbar spine in neutral and aim to keep it set throughout. Keeping legs straight and maintaining hip angle, move the legs to one side, controlling any movement in the trunk. Go as far as you can in control, keeping your upper back and shoulders on the floor. Bring the legs to a halt, pull them back up to the start position and then over to the other side, under control. The slow side-to-side movement is like a ‘windscreen wiper’ arc

 

To learn more about core stability training, please contact Total Physio Isa on ph. 4972 5155, or visit the website: www.activephysiohealth.com.au . Shayne has been providing physiotherapy services to Gladstone for the past 5 years.