Top 6 Core Exercises for a Stronger Back
We all know that a strong core is the secret to a healthy, happy, stronger back. What most don’t know is how to accomplish that without hurting or making their back pai n worse. Today we’ll uncover the top 5 core exercises for a stronger back and explain how they help.
First thing to understand is that the torso protects the spine from all angles, in 360 degrees. There is more to the core than just the sexy six-pack we all aspire to. It also includes your sides and back. The abs help protect the back from overarching, the sides from over twisting or lateral bending, the back from over-flexing/rounding.
The best place to start is to work the core in it’s primary function-to stabilize and protect the spine. This is where most people get into trouble-they start crunching and crunching and crunching because that’s the best way to reveal those 6-packs! WRONG. If you’ve got a herniated disc or other back problems crunches could very well be the WORST thing you can do to your back.
Rather, you’ve got to stabilize it first. Once the spine is stabilized, then you can add in movement of the arms and legs while stabilizing the spine which is going to be harder. Once you’ve mastered that, then the dynamic movements can happen safely.
What are stabilizing exercises?
A stabilizing exercise is one that doesn’t allow the spine to move. The 3 exercises that work all aspects of the core (front, sides, and back) are the:
- Keep hips up and forward
- Elbow under shoulder
- You can do this from your knees if this is too hard
- Squeeze your glutes hard
- Don’t let the hips sag
- Heels up, pushing forwards
- Work to get the chest and legs as high in the air as possible
The goal with these is to increase the time you can hold with good form since these muscles hold you upright all day, they take some time. However, most people’s form deteriorates after a few intense seconds, so we recommend either holding for a determined number of breaths (5-10) or a short amount of seconds (10 seconds) and doing repetitions.
What are other 3 exercises?
Theses are the exercises where the spine is still stabilized, but you include movement of the arms or legs or both.
- Stay vertical-no leaning
- Take smaller steps
- Keep the weight still-no moving
- Reach out as far as possible with the leg and opposite hand
- Keep your hips parallel to ground
- Squeeze into the ball trying to pop it
- Slowly extend the opposite arm and leg
- No arching in the back
The goal with these set is quality movement for time. The first priority is quality movement of the limbs while not moving the spine in any way. As you get stronger you’ll be able to go longer. On the suitcase carry, select a weight that is challenging to hold/grip, but doable.
Doing the exercises will ensure you strengthen your core while protecting your back and keeping you safe and injury-free.