Benefits of Ab Strengthening for Lower Back Pain
We tend to associate back pain with aging, but women of all ages and body types can experience back pain.1 Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t rest an injured back; instead, you should keep moving.
Most exercise is good for your back, and the right core strengthening exercises can help strengthen the muscles that support your lower back (also called the lumbar region) and relieve the pain. The abdominal muscles help support the lower back. By incorporating an ab workout and therefore taking pressure off your back, core exercises for back pain can also prevent future back strain and injury.
Recommended Ab Workouts and Core Exercises for Back Pain
Keep in mind that not all core workouts are beneficial for treating or preventing back pain. Some can make back pain worse. To help, here are the top ab workouts and core exercises for back pain:
Ab/Back Machine at Curves:
- Sit in the machine with your hips and shoulders against the seat back.
- Grasp the handles and keep your arms ridged throughout the movement.
- Contract your abs and lower your torso towards your knees as you exhale.
- Inhale as you return to the start position.
- Start on all fours, with your wrist directly underneath your shoulders and your knees in line with your wrists.
- Looking straight down at the ground, squeeze your shoulder blades together and engage your core, to maintain a neutral spine.
- Extend one arm straight out in front of you, so it’s in line with your torso. At the same time, contract your glutes and outstretch the opposite leg straight back behind you. Pause for a few seconds, maintaining the flex in your abs and glutes to keep your shoulders and hips from dropping.
- Repeat on the other side, with the opposite arm and leg.
- Stand with your back against a wall, engaging your abs to push your back against the wall.
- Walk your feet out in front of you until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your back should still be completely pressed against the wall.
- Hold this position and flex your core. You can rest your hands on your thighs or place them on your hips. To deepen the exercise, extend your arms straight out in front of you at chest height.
- Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.
There are also some core and ab workouts women with low back pain should avoid. These include:
- Standing toe touches
- Sit ups
- Leg lifts, both hanging and floor
- Bicycle crunches
- Russian twists
To protect your low back from injury during your ab workouts, start slowly. If you are just starting out, do core strengthening exercises for beginners. Always warm up and cool down before and after your full body workout. Perform lower back stretches. And stop what you are doing if you experience back pain.
For more advice on ab workouts for women, core strengthening exercises, and core exercises for back pain, visit Curves’ ‘Move’ blog. Speak with a Curves Coach about the best exercises for relieving back pain and for workout tips in general. Learn more about Curves women’s exercise programs that are available in-club or at home so you can workout wherever and whenever it suits you.