(Caption: Donkey Kick and Bird Dog Exercises.)
This is a progression of core exercises that can be done to help strengthen that core. We’re going to start with the Donkey Kick, do the advanced Donkey Kick, and then we’ll move to the full Bird Dog. So for the Donkey Kick you’re on all fours like this. You want that natural curve to remain in the back. You want that pelvis to stay still, so you don’t want it tilting either side, left or right, okay? So on all fours you just take one leg and kick straight back, nice and slowly. To make that a little more difficult, raise the opposite hand off the ground. Now your body will need to do a little extra work to stabilize. And the final variation is called the Bird Dog. You’ll take the opposite hand and go straight forward at the same time as bringing the opposite leg back. And aim for ten to 15 repetitions on each side.
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.