Gym rats call the
abs and the back muscles the “Core Muscles.”
When these muscle groups are in good shape, back pain caused by back
muscle strain or soft tissue injury can be
prevented. The body is also supplied with the needed strength to keep
Oftentimes, we tend to focus too much on ab crunches and exercises
for the chest, shoulders, and biceps – the so-called “show
muscles” – and pay little attention to the back muscles.
This is unfortunate because the muscles are partly responsible
for helping keep us upright, and when they’re properly
toned, we’re less likely to be injured from bending or lifting heavy
The abs, as another core muscle, also supports your body.
When the abs are weak, your posture can be affected, imposing undue
stress on the other parts of your body. When your abs are too weak to
do its job of holding your body up, the neck and back muscles step in
and do the job. This is why both muscle groups have to be in a healthy
Exercises For The Back…
These routines won’t give you impressive bulges, but they’re essential
for good posture and support.
Lower Back Exercises:
Lie face down on the floor with your hands at your sides.
To lift your
face off the floor, use a small bolster pillow or a rolled towel.
To support your back, tighten your abs; and with the feet still
touching the floor, slowly “float” your head and chest off the floor,
keeping your neck in line with your spine.
Extend your arms to the sides, and then overhead, to increase
Return to starting position and repeat 10 to 15 times.
Arm and Leg Raises:
Start with your knees and hands on the floor and your hips
flexed at a 90-degree angle.
Raise your right arm and your left leg at the same time while
keeping your balance with the abs and the back muscles. Your raised
extremities should be level with your back.
Return to the starting position. Do the same with the opposite
extremities – the left arm and the right leg this time – and repeat
Using a bench, position your body parallel to it and put
knee on it. Place your right hand on the bench as well, and hold a
dumbbell with your left hand.
Next, slowly pull the weight up to your abdomen and stop for a second
Now gently lower the weight back to its starting position. Do about
10-15 reps. Afterwards, shift positions and do the same thing for the
other side of your body.
With your feet together, bend forward at the waist while
keeping your back parallel to the ground.
Don’t overdo it and use large weights. Remember, the shoulder
muscles are small and should not be overworked.
Next, raise the weights up to your sides until your elbows are in
line with your shoulders. Pause for a couple of seconds, and return to
the starting position. Do 10-15 reps.
An orthopedic surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,
Dr. Angela Smith, recoomends standing up straight to keep our backs in
its optimal position.