Abdominal Strength Training is an important part of any total-body strength workout to build a stronger body and better back. Suggestions provided by the back and neck specialists at the KBNI.

Core Strengthening Exercises For Lower Back Pain Relief

The abdominal muscles provide the strength to keep the body upright; therefore, strong abdominal muscles are crucial in giving proper support to the back and spine. It is important to exercise the abdominal muscles to help prevent back and spine injury.

Below are examples of abdominal strength training exercises to build a strong core and better-supported back.

REMINDER: Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. If pain develops, stop immediately and notify your physician.

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  • Crunches
  • Sit Ups
  • Leg Raises
  • Russian Twists

Crunches

Abdominal Crunch (feet on wall)
Lay flat on your back with your arms folded across your chest and place your feet on the wall. Crunch your shoulders straight up towards the ceiling, with your shoulders only a couple inches off the mat. Hold for a second and then return to the starting position and repeat.

Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Crunch with feet on wall

Abdominal Crunch (feet on wall, arms out)
Lay flat on your back with your arms folded across your chest and place your feet on the wall. Crunch your shoulders straight up towards the ceiling while reaching your hands toward your knees. Your shoulders should only be a couple inches off the mat. Hold for a second then return to the starting position and repeat. It is important to keep your back as straight as possible as you crunch towards the ceiling; do not roll your back like you are reaching towards your knees.

Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Crunch with feet on wall, arms out Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Crunch with feet on wall, arms out Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Crunch with feet on wall, arms out

Abdominal Crunch (feet on floor)
Lay flat on your back with your arms pointed straight up and feet flat on the floor. You will crunch straight up towards the ceiling, with your shoulders only a couple inches off the mat. Hold for a second then return to the starting position and repeat. It is important to keep your back as straight as possible as you crunch; do not want to roll your back like you are reaching towards your knees.

Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Crunch with feet on floor Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Crunch with feet on floor Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Crunch with feet on floor

Abdominal Ball Crunch
Start by sitting on an exercise ball and slowly lower your upper body down until the small (lower curve) of your back is in the middle of the ball (you will be lying on the ball parallel to the floor). Crunch straight up toward the ceiling, with your shoulders only a couple inches off the ball. Hold for a second then return to the starting position and repeat. It is important to keep your back as straight as possible as you crunch towards the ceiling; do not roll your back like you are reaching towards your knees.

Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Ball Crunch Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Ball Crunch Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Ball Crunch Abdominal Strength Training - Abdominal Ball Crunch

Ab Roller Crunch
Lay on your back and place your head on the supportive pad with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Crunch up towards the ceiling raising your shoulders only a couple of inches off of the mat. These can also be done with the feet off of the floor.

Abdominal Strength Training -  Ab Roller Crunch Abdominal Strength Training -  Ab Roller Crunch

Ab Roller Oblique Crunch
This is done similar to the regular crunch but your lower body is turned so that only your lower body is on its side while your upper body remains flat on the ground. Only crunch up a couple inches off the ground, hold for a second, and repeat.

Abdominal Strength Training - Ab Roller Oblique Crunch Abdominal Strength Training - Ab Roller Oblique Crunch Abdominal Strength Training - Ab Roller Oblique Crunch Abdominal Strength Training - Ab Roller Oblique Crunch

Sit Ups

Decline Sit Ups
Place feet and lower legs so that they are firmly supported with the bend in the bench right behind your knees. Slowly lean backwards, stopping when your body is parallel to the floor, then proceed back to the starting position.

Abdominal Strength Training - Decline Sit Ups Abdominal Strength Training - Decline Sit Ups Abdominal Strength Training - Decline Sit Ups

Half V-Sit Ups
Sit in the middle of a flat bench with your hands holding onto the bottom of the seat. Extend your legs so they are completely straight and then bring them back into your chest- your upper body will also move slightly forward and backward.

Abdominal Strength Training - Half V-Sit Ups Abdominal Strength Training - Half V-Sit Ups

Full V-Sit Ups
This is similar to the Half V-Sit Ups but in this exercise, do not hold onto the bench. You will lean backwards to an almost lying position and then return to the starting position with your knees close to your chest.

Abdominal Strength Training - Full V-Sit Ups Abdominal Strength Training - Full V-Sit Ups

Leg Raises

Leg Raises
Lay flat on your back and firmly grab onto something above your head that will not move. Raise your legs up to a 90 degree angle and release.

Abdominal Strength Training - Leg Raises Abdominal Strength Training - Leg Raises Abdominal Strength Training - Leg Raises

Hanging Leg Raise
This is an advanced abdominal exercise and should not be attempted by a beginner. Step up on a box so that you can put your arms in the slings. You want the slings to fit snugly at the top of your arms close to your armpits; this may cause some mild discomfort to your arms. Once firmly in the slings, step off the box so you are hanging in mid-air.  Raise your knees straight up until they reach a ninety-degree angle. Hold for a second then slowly lower your legs back down and repeat. For a more advanced exercise, try repeating with your legs straight instead of bent. It may also be helpful to have someone support your lower back when doing this exercise so you don’t swing your body.

Abdominal Strength Training - Hanging Leg Raise Abdominal Strength Training - Hanging Leg Raise

Pelvic Pop
Lay on your back with your legs at a 90-degree angle to your body. Raise your hips several inches off of the floor, hold, and release.

Abdominal Strength Training - Pelvic Pops Abdominal Strength Training - Pelvic Pops

Decline Leg Raises
Lay down with your feet at the lower end of a decline board and grab onto the top of the board with both arms. Extend your legs straight and raise them up towards your head as far as you can. For an even more advanced stretch, finish the exercise with a pelvic pop

Abdominal Strength Training – Decline Leg  Raises Abdominal Strength Training – Decline Leg  Raises

Russian Twists

Russian Twists
This is an advanced exercise and should not be attempted if you are a beginner or experiencing lower back pain. Place your feet under something that will not move and grab a very light weight (never go heavy no matter how advanced you are). Hold the weight over your chest, pivot on your butt, and turn as far as you can comfortably to the left and then to the right.

Abdominal Strength Training - Russian Twists Abdominal Strength Training - Russian Twists Abdominal Strength Training - Russian Twists
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For more information on Abdominal Strength Training or for a consultation at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute please call:

281.44.NEURO (281.446.3876)