Low back pain is often associated with weakness or poor activation of the abdominal musculature. Additionally, it has been shown that by increasing the stability of the trunk can often offload the painful structures of the low back. To that end, try optimizing these exercises by using EMG biofeedback to enhance your progress.
Exercise #1 Abdominal Bracing
Begin on your back in a neutral spine position with the knees bent, feet on the floor. Activate the abdominal muscles by bracing the stomach trying to press your belly button into the floor. Hold for a few seconds and repeat.
Place 1 electrode 2 inches lateral to one side of your belly button. Place the second electrode 1 inch below the first electrode. Finally, make sure to connect to the device and map how much activation you are able to get with each contraction.
Muscle Activation Target:
Exercise #2 Side Plank
Start on your side with the feet together, prop up on one forearm directly below your shoulder. Next, activate the abdominal muscles and bring the hips up until your body is in a straight line. Hold this position without dropping or elevating the hips. Repeat as needed making sure form is correct.
Feel for the bottom of your ribs on the side where you plan to hold the plank position. Place 1 electrode approximately 2 inches below the lateral part of your last rib. Place the second electrode 1 inch below the first electrode. Make sure to connect to the device and map how much activation you are able to get with each contraction. Switch the electrodes to the opposite side when switching planking positions.
Internal and External Obliques
Exercise #3 Kneeling Plank
Start in a kneeling position with knees in line with the hips. Place the hands directly under the shoulders slightly wider than shoulder width. Then, activate the abdominal muscles by bracing the stomach trying to draw the belly button towards the sky. Hold this position until fatigue sets in or activation start to decrease.
Place 1 electrode 2 inches lateral to one side of your belly button. Place the second electrode 1 inch above the first electrode. Be sure to connect to the device and map how much activation you are able to get with each contraction.
About the Author:
Patrick Griffith is a Doctor of Physical Therapy Student at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. He is a movement specialist with a degree in Exercise and Sports Science with certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and U.S.A Triathlon Association. Additionally, Patrick has a vast knowledge of corrective strategies to enhance movements with the use of our biofeedback technology.
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