Fitness Friday: Pelvic Floor Exercises

Four Lumbar Spine Stabilization Exercises

 

Abdominal bracing is a technique used for stabilizing the lumbar, or lower spine. Bracing requires the muscles surrounding the abdomen to tighten enabling the erector spinae muscles, or the muscles running along the spine, to contract and support the back. The bracing technique is often used in rehabilitation of the low back. Here are four of the top abdominal bracing exercises used in rehabilitation.


Lying Abdominal Bracing

  • Begin on your back in a relaxed neutral spine position with knees bent and feet flat on the floor beneath you.
  • Gently contract your abdominal muscles.
  • Hold the contraction as you breathe in and out for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 20x.

Pro Tip: As you progress with this exercise, hold your abdominal contraction for longer than 5-10 seconds, gradually building your time.

 

Bracing with Heel Slides

  • Begin on your back in a relaxed neutral spine position with knees bent and feet flat on the floor beneath you.This is your start position.
  • Gently contract your abdominal muscles and hold in place.
  • Hold the contraction and as you inhale, slowly slide your right heel in toward your rear end.
  • Continue to hold the contraction as you exhale and slowly return your right foot back to the start position.
  • Repeat on the other side. Complete 10x on each side.

Pro Tip: In order to brace the abdomen while also moving the heel, think about taking the arch out of your low back by pulling in your belly button. Reset at any time you need.

 

 

 


Bracing with Leg Lifts

  • Begin on your back in a relaxed neutral spine position with knees bent and feet flat on the floor beneath you.This is your start position.
  • Gently contract your abdominal muscles and hold in place.
  • Hold the contraction and as you inhale, slowly lift your right foot off the ground, keeping the knee bent and slowly raising your knee up and in toward the chest.
  • Continue to hold the contraction as you exhale and slowly return your right foot back to the start position.
  • Repeat on the other side. Complete 10x on each side.

Pro Tip: Avoid allowing your hips and low back from raising off of the ground too much. Instead, raise your knee only as high, or in toward yours chest that you can without compromising your abdominal bracing.

 

Bracing with Bridging

  • Begin on your back in a relaxed neutral spine position with knees bent and feet flat on the floor beneath you.This is your start position.
  • Gently contract your abdominal muscles and hold in place.
  • Hold the contraction and as you inhale, slowly press your hips up toward the ceiling.
  • Continue to hold the contraction in your abdomen as you hold this bridge at the top for 5-10 seconds.  Exhale and slowly return back to your start position.
  • Repeat 20x.

Pro Tip: Drive your weight into your heels as you press up your hips.

 

An easy way to practice proper abdominal bracing is to begin standing upright. Press your hips forward while pulling in your abdomen, allowing the arch in your low back to relapse to a neutral spine.

 

 


 

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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC

Health Advisor  |  

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