To piggy back off of last months blog about top 4 stretches for sciatica, this week I am going to review the top 3 exercises for core strengthening. There has been a good amount of research done to show how core strengthening can help prevent and decrease back pain. Most of these articles have found that it’s the activation of the deep abdominal muscles that help the most with back stabilization and decreasing back pain.
The deep abdominal muscles are connect to your back through a deep fascial layer….
These deep abdominal muscles can then act as your own personal corset to keep you back more stabilized and protected. Individuals who have had back surgeries in the past have had some of this fascial layer cut through, so rebuilding the muscle becomes even more important. Here is a picture of the deep abdominal muscles from the front.
The muscles that are most responsible for creating that corset affect around you back are called the external obliques, internal obliques and transverse abdominis. The rectus abdominis or “6 pack” muscles are actually strictly trunk flexors and do not have the corset affect around the back as the deep abdominal muscles do.
So now the important part….how do you exercise these muscles? Well here are my top 3 core strengthening exercises for the deep abdominal muscles.
- Bicycle Kick Outs- Start with 30 seconds x 2 sets. Progress to 1 minute x 2 sets.
2. Front and Side Planks- Start with 2 sets of 30 seconds. Work up to 2 sets x 1 minute.
3. Bridging with kick outs- Start with 2 sets of 30 seconds. Work up to 2 sets of 1 minute.
There you have it. These are the top 3 exercises to work on strengthening the deep core abdominals to help prevent and recover from back injuries. Another important part of core stabilization is pelvic floor strengthening, which will be addressed in another blog. Thanks for reading!