Is it true that strengthening your core stomach muscles can help prevent back problems? What exercises are best for strengthening both abs and back muscles?

Yes, it is true that strengthening the musculature of your abdominals and low back will help to alleviate as well as prevent back problems. Assuming you have been cleared by a physician, and do not have a history of back pain, it is possible to strengthen your core and help reduce the likelihood of injuring your back. Below are several exercises that will engage your core and strengthen your abdominals and low back. Also, keep in mind that all “functional” strength training exercises done using your own body weight and free weight will also engage your core while simultaneously working specific muscle groups. Begin slowly and with physician’s consent.

Core Strengthening Exercise
Cobra – Prone extension
Lying face down on the floor, lift chest off the floor, keeping cervical spine in line and squeezing shoulder blades together. Repeat 10 times.

Core Strengthening Exercise
Low back ext – on physioball
On bent knees, rest on the ball with your hands behind your head and feet touching the ground. Lift and lower upper body off the ball.

Core Strength Exercise
Prone hover – on ball with bent knee
While on knees, stabilize yourself on elbows on the ball while maintaining a straight line from your knees through the top of your head.
Hold for 20-30 seconds to begin. Repeat 5 times.

Core Strength Exercise
Prone hover – on floor
On elbows and toes, maintain a straight line from the top of your head through the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle.
Hold 20-30 seconds to begin. Repeat 5 times.

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