Personal Trainer in Portland Or | Better Than A Crunch

Despite their popularity, crunches can cause a lot of damage to the spine, our posture, and are a major cause of lower back pain. There are several core exercises that work the abs more effectively and actually prevent lower back pain. Here is one example.The plank is one of the best exercises for core stability and strength. It keeps the spine neutral, protecting it from damage due to over-extension and flexion. It also targets the transverse abs, which stabilizes and protects the spine. The transverse abs actually contract before we move any limb. So here’s how to get started!Lie face down on the floor, feet together. Position your elbows directly under your shoulders and tuck your toes under. Lift your body off the floor so the only points of contact are your toes and forearms. Your body should make one straight line from your shoulders to hips to knees. Now, keeping your elbows in one spot, draw them slightly in towards your belly. You should feel your abs contract. Be sure not to let your lower back dip down- your hips should stay up with the rest of your body. Hold this position as long as you can, making sure to feel it in your abs, and not in your back. Rest and repeat two more times.For an extra challenge, try lifting one foot slightly off the ground while in your plank position. Keep your hips even, try not to dip down to the opposite side. Hold each foot up for up to 30 seconds.Dealing with Chronic Back PainBack pain can often be debilitating and unbearable. It interrupts daily life and prevents people from doing things they love. The good news is there are stretches and exercises to help remedy chronic back pain and prevent it in the future. Stretching the low back, glutes, and hip flexors helps relieve tension, while strengthening the core will help better support the low back and prevent pain.The first stretch relaxes the hips and glutes, which directly affect the lower back. Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring the left foot up onto the right knee. Reach one hand through your legs and the other on the outside of the right thigh, pull the right leg towards your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.Next, we will stretch the hip flexors. If you experience low back pain and tend to be seated much of the day, stretching the psoas muscles will help. The psoas muscles connect in the front of the hips and go through the pelvis to the lumbar spine. When seated, these muscles are tight. Therefore people who sit for their jobs or drive often tend to experience tight psoas muscles pulling on the lumbar spine, causing pain. Try this stretch to relieve some tension. Kneel on a mat with the left knee down, right knee bent with the foot flat on the mat in front of you, forming a split stance. Squeeze your glutes and lean forward into the right leg, feeling a stretch in the front of the left thigh. Next, bring your left arm up and over your head, leaning slightly to the right. This will intensify the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.When strengthening the core and lower back you want to be cautious of over extending the spine and putting too much strain on your already painful back. Start with a stabilizing exercise for the muscles of the low back. Get down on a mat on all fours, hands directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips. Lift your left arm straight out in front of you and at the same time lift your right leg straight behind you. Hold for three seconds and pull your elbow and knee together underneath you. Straighten them out again, and repeat this for a total of 20 times. Switch sides.Lastly, planks are great for lower back pain because they work the transverse abs which support the entire midsection. Start lying face down on a mat. Come up on your elbows, forearms straight and hands apart. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders and you should be squeezing your abs. Next lift up your body onto your knees, keeping a straight line from shoulders to hips to knees. Your butt should not stick up in the air or sag down. Hold this position for up to a minute. If this is too easy and you do not experience any pain in your back, try coming up on your toes and holding your body completely straight for up to a minute.Mallory StevensThe Art of Personal Training By Kisar Dhillon The Art of Personal Training by Kisar Dhillon107 SE Washington Street, Suite 137Portland, Oregon 97214(503) 953-0241