The Big 5: Easy Exercises For Stabilizing Your Low Back

By Dr Ken Nakamura+

Will the Big 5 low back exercises help your lower back?

 

What are the Big 5 low back exercises for stabilizing your spine?

 

Spinal stablilization exercises are used by health practitioners like this Toronto downtown chiropractor.

Bird Dog With Shampoo Bottle

Your goal with these exercises is to try and stabilize the “core” with exercises. Like trying to balance a shampoo bottle on your back in a “crawling” position, the muscles of your hip, back and abdomen need to be strong enough and have enough endurance to hold that shampoo bottle in place without tipping it over. In other words your lower back needs to be stable.

 

You don’t actually have to balance a shampoo bottle on your back but at our downtown Toronto chiropractic clinic I often will put a bottle on person I am teaching the exercises to, so they will understand that the back needs to be stable.

 

Your core keeps the spine in one place while allowing your limbs namely your arms and legs a solid place to push or pull from, to perform at a high level in your sport, or even the everyday things like walk to the subway without giving you lower back pain.

 

Core Strength and Back Pain

 

Many of my patients at Rebalance Sports Medicine come to me and say they’ve done a lot of core exercises, but tell me that “my back still hurts”.

 

I ask them which core exercises they did. They often show me exercises that can hurt their lower back.

 

In fact many of the core exercises you see on the internet can hurt your lower back. You have a strong and stable back that hurts a lot. That doesn’t help.

 

You need to do the exercises that won’t hurt your lower back and allow you to do the things that you do for daily living and sport.

 

Heart of Core Exercises

Core exercises have a common theme to them. Abdominal bracing is needed whenever you do these “Big 5” core exercises.

 

Abdominal bracing involves you tightening your abs while keeping the natural curve in your spine. Remember you still need to breath though.

 

Remember not to “hollow out” your abs which means your abs shouldn’t cave in.

 

The second part of core exercises is to keep the natural curve in your spine. So ideally if you have a flat back you should put a curve in it. If your have too much of curve in your lower back than you should move it toward the “ideal curve”.

 

Let’s practice the abdominal bracing before we get to “The Big 5” exercises.

 

Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times; perform 1-3 sets.

 

Abdominal bracing is a fundamental that you need to master before you can do core exercises properly.

 

The Big Five

1. Reverse Bird Dog

Dead Bug The Big 5: Low back exercises to help stabilize your lower back. Curl-up, Bird Dog and Side Plank will help your lower back pain: Toronto Downtown Chiropractic.

  • Starting position: Lie on your back with your one knee bent and one foot flat on the floor and opposite arm by your side.  Raise one arm straight up toward the ceiling while the opposite leg is bent raised in the air. Put a towel underneath your lower back to maintain the arch in your lower back. Do the abdominal brace by tightening your stomach  and buttock muscles.
  • The Move: Lower the raised leg toward the floor and bring the opposite arm toward the floor. Hold for 3 seconds and switch sides.
  • Repetitions: Repeat 10 times working your way up to 3 sets.

 

2. Curl up
3 Big low back exercises to help stabilize your lower back. Curl-ups, Bird Dog and Side Plank will help your lower back pain.: Toronto Downtown Chiropractic.

  • Starting position: Lay down on your back with on leg up and your arm underneath the curve of your lower back. The arm underneath your lower back helps support the arch in your lower back. You can always use a rolled up towel.
  • The Move: Bring your head up while looking up at the ceiling not your legs. When you do this exercise the abdominal muscles automatically brace.
  • Repetitions: Repeat 10 times working your way up to 3 sets.

 

3. Arm Flexion:

 

Dog Exercise of the Bird Dog Exercise or Leg Extension: The Big 5: Low back exercises to help stabilize your lower back. Curl-up, Bird Dog and Side Plank will help your lower back pain.: Toronto Downtown Chiropractic.

  • Starting position: Get down on your hands and knees in to a crawling position with your shoulders and hips, shoulder width apart. Keep your lower back arch with it’s ideal curve. Do the abdominal brace by tightening your stomach and buttock muscles.
  • The Move: Move your arm up until it’s parallel to the floor. Remember to pretend there is a shampoo bottle on top of your lower back. Hold for 3 seconds and switch sides.
  • Repetitions: Repeat 10 times working your way up to 3 sets.

 

4. Leg Extension:

Dog Exercise of the Bird Dog Exercise or Leg Extension: The Big 5: Low back exercises to help stabilize your lower back. Curl-up, Bird Dog and Side Plank will help your lower back pain.: Toronto Downtown Chiropractic.

  • Starting position: Get down on your hands and knees in to a crawling position with your shoulders and hips, shoulder width apart. Keep your lower back arch with it’s ideal curve. Do the abdominal brace by tightening your stomach and buttock muscles.
  • The Move: Move your leg up until it’s parallel to the floor. Pretend there is a shampoo bottle on top of your lower back. Hold for 3 seconds and switch sides.
  • Repetitions: Repeat 10 times working your way up to 3 sets.

 

5. Bird Dog

Low back Support Back belt -post back belt exercises

  • Starting position: Get down on your hands and knees in to a crawling position with your shoulders and hips, shoulder width apart. Keep in your lower back with it’s ideal curve and brace your abs.
  • The Move: Move your leg backwards behind you till it’s parallel to the floor. At the same time move the opposite arm out in front of you until it’s parallel to the floor. Remember that to pretend that there is a shampoo bottle sitting on top the your lower back. Hold for 3 seconds and switch sides.
  • Repetitions: Repeat 10 times working your way up to 3 sets.

 

References

1. OCA: Corestability

2. Stuart McGill: Low Back Disorders

 

Picture Reference

DeadBug Modified.

https://www.acefitness.org/blog/3469/5-foam-rolling-exercises-to-prep-for-a-dynamic

Curl-up

https://kknudson.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/mcgills-big-three-ish-the-curl-up/

Arm Flexion &  Leg Extension

http://www.sleighfamilychiropractic.com/index.cfm/wellness-prevention/core-exercises/bird-dog-exercise/


Author

Dr Ken Nakamura

Who is Dr. Ken? I’m a father, spouse, chiropractor, and I love what I do! I created Bodi Empowerment to bring you and everyone-else safe and effective methods for self-treatment by basing my articles on research to everything I can. Still many parts will be based on 18 years of experience, seminars, and collaboration with other health experts; which means you will get opinions as well. Sometimes my articles won’t agree with what is currently accepted, but I am not here to please everyone. I’m here to empower you through the knowledge that I give you. Dr. Ken works at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown, Toronto.

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