(Caption: Dr. Ben Tucker: 3 easy exercises for injury-proofing your back.)
Hi there. These are the basics of creating for yourself a strong core. Basically making for yourself a back brace out of muscle. This is super important for avoiding any back issues along the road, or if you currently have one, or have previously had one – this is even more important for you to make sure that the muscles in the low back region and all the way around to the front and sides provide stabilization for your back. You may have heard that wearing a back brace is helpful for creating stability. That is true. The problem is, in theory, when you take off that belt, you’ve lost that stability. What we want to do is create for ourselves a low back brace that we’re always wearing because it’s made out of our own muscle. So you want to focus on the four general areas just for a basic start. Obviously you want to focus on the abdominals in the front, which everyone knows about. (Caption: Focus on 4 key areas to create a “muscular back brace” 1. Abdominals, 2. Back extensors, 3. Left side obliques, 4. Right side obliques.) You want to focus on the extensors, the lumbar extensors in the low back. And then you want to look at the obliques, the internal and external obliques on the sides. So that way you’ve got your front and back taken care of and your side to side taken care of, and you’ve basically created for yourself a back, a back brace made out of muscle.
So, the proper way to do a crunch, without creating undue stress in the low back – that part is important, a lot of people do crunches right up to the knees (Caption: How to do a “crunch” instead of a “situp” [the crunch is safer for the back.]), but that puts a lot of pressure on the low back, which is dangerous for anyone, but especially for someone who’s had a previous low back injury or is coping with low back pain. So what you want to do is keep your feet flat on the floor, put your hands up by your ears, and look to drive your nose to the ceiling as opposed to driving your nose to your knees. Your crunch looks like this. You can hold it at the top for one to two seconds, and back down. It’s not a lot of range of motion, but it’s everything you need to activate the abdominals properly. Don’t be doing crunches right up like this, necessarily, especially if you have low back issues. If you love doing your crunches right up to your knees, I won’t be the one to tell you ‘no’, but it’s certainly better to focus on a crunch as opposed to a full sit up. As far as working on the sides and the back, you’ll find those two topics in other videos that I’ve listed – the Donkey Kick, the Modified Donkey Kick, and the Bird Dog – which just quickly for the back looks like this for the Donkey Kick, looks like, raise that arm, this for the Modified Donkey Kick, and looks like this for the Bird Dog. (Caption: Back Extensors: Donkey Kick [easier], Modified Donkey Kick [moderate], Bird Dog [harder].) And then – so that’s our front and back taken care of – as far as working on the sides, I have another video talking about the Hip Drop Twist, or working a Side Plank is very effective as well. So just getting onto your side, putting that top foot in front, and maintaining this position for as long as you can. (Caption: Obliques: Side plank.) I tell people to aim for between 30 and 45 seconds. And then the exact same thing on the opposite side.
So those are the four exercises that I would do to create for yourself a low back brace made out of muscle. (Caption: 4 exercises to make a “muscular back brace”. 1. Crunch, 2. Donkey Kick to Bird Dog, 3. Left side plank, 4. Right side plank.) This is core stabilization, and I hope you enjoy and are able to use some of these to help yourself stay out of trouble as far as low back pain goes, or get yourself out of trouble and towards health if you’re experiencing low back issues or have had them in the past.