Strengthening Retired Core

The Lumbar spine is held up by muscles which are connected by ligaments, these are joined to the bones via tendons. If these muscles are damaged (weakened or tightened) it could cause a number of complications to your lower back, legs and other parts of the body.

The muscles that contribute towards a healthy lower back are;

Side muscles (External, Internal Oblique’s and Transverses Abdominis )

Abs (Rectus Abdominis)

Lower back and bottom (Gluteus Maximus)

Smaller muscles work alongside these making a hymnists movement.

When these muscles are out of place the skeletal frame can fall out of alignment. This can cause a large arch in the lower back (Lordosis Spine).

Strengthening the surrounding muscles will help to support the spine and minimalize any pain. Especially if you suffer from a mild or continuous slipped disc, as well as pains from bending back and forth.

There are thousands of exercises and stretches which support the spine.

Here are a few of my own basic exercises which can be done by ALL ages while sitting in a chair, laying down or even standing.

(Please pick the exercises you are comfortable with. If you are finding these exercises too easy then please have a look at core basics).

Perform 10-15 reps of each exercises 2 or 3 times a day 3- 5 times a week for at least 3 months to feel the benefits. You may feel muscle soreness also know as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) set in 24-48 hours after the workout and can last up to a week, the more you work out the less pain you will feel. Once you are able to complete 15 reps without difficulty try one of the exercises with ***. These exercises are slightly more challenging. For the best results change the exercises after a month to continue with the muscle strengthening.

There are also video demonstration with audio for each exercise.

1. Seated knee raise - Sitting on a chair without arms. For more support keep your back against the chair with your hands by the sides. If you are able to, move slightly away from the back of the chair and keep your back straight. Engage the core (stomach muscles) lift your knee up as high as you can in a controlled smooth motion and slowly bring the leg back down before changing sides.

2. Standing hip rotation - Start with your feet hip width apart with your hands on your hips. Squeezing your bottom as you rotate your hips forwards, keeping your upper body still and legs as straight as possible (if you find you're bending your knees that will be due to tight hamstring muscles, which I will go through in a legs blog in a few weeks time so for now don't worry to much about the bend). Relax the bum cheeks as you rotate the hips backwards.

3. Seated side reach - On the chair without arms, lean sideways reaching towards the floor. Keep your body facing forward (avoid twisting to the side). As you lean to the side slightly push your hip in the opposite direction (so you don't fall off the chair) and return to the seated position before repeating on the other side.

4. Standing side bends*** - Standing with your feet wider than hip width apart, lead with one arm down the outside of your leg. As your body lowers allow your hip to move to the opposite side, raise your arm on the same side of your hip alongside your body, return back to the standing/upright position and repeat on the other side.

5. Seated Cat and Cow - Sitting with your back away from the back of the chair, place your hands on your thigh. Move your hands down your legs towards your knees allowing your body to curl creating a C shape across your back. Bring your hands back up your towards your waist, squeeze your elbows behind you to open out the chest.

6. Cat and cow*** - Starting on your hands and knees, lift your chest up and curl your hips under creating a C shape across your back. Lower your stomach towards the floor lifting your head up and dropping your shoulder down your back.

7. Torso twist - Standing with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, arms in a 90 degree angle at shoulder height. Twist your upper body until you are facing sideways, as you turn allow your heel to come off the floor so you avoid putting pressure on the knee. Turn your body back to the starting position before twisting to the other side.

8. Seated opposite elbow to knee*** - Sitting on a chair without arms, hands by your ears. Start by lifting your leg up towards your chest using the opposite elbow to knee twist the body towards the leg and turn back to the seated position, repeat on other side.

9. Ankle onto knee raise*** - Lay on your back bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Lift one foot off the floor and place your ankle on to your knee. With the foot which is on the floor raise it off the floor towards your body then slowly bring it back down to the floor.

Next week I will be posting Core basics learning how to do floor core exercises correctly.

Followed by Core intermediate out on 2nd October.

See you next week