1) ‘Tummy Hollowing’
Aim: To improve deep muscle control of the lower back.
Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Relax your shoulders and make sure your head feels comfortable. You need to find the ‘middle position’ of your lower back by moving your pelvis forwards and backwards.
(Tip: Think about tipping your belly button upwards to your face then downwards to your toes until you feel you are somewhere in the middle of these two positions).
Next, as you breathe out, gently draw in your belly button towards your spine. Practise gently holding these muscles in whilst you breath in and out naturally. Start with a 5 second hold, then 10, 15 and 20 seconds.
2) ‘Tummy Hollowing with Foot Lift’
Aim: To strengthen the core stability muscles.
Take up the tummy hollowing position (as exercise 1) and whilst your tummy is hollowed, slide your right foot along the floor, hold for 5 seconds, then bring your foot back alongside your left foot. Repeat the exercise with your left foot. Remember to keep your core muscles contracted during the exercise.
Aim: To strengthen core muscles.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
Start by contracting the deep stomach muscles (see ‘Tummy Hollowing’), then slowly lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor (5 seconds.) Hold your hips and pelvis up for 5 seconds, making sure you do not lift them too high. Now, return to the starting position by slowly lowering your pelvis and lower back down to the floor.
Aim: To strengthen back muscles.
Position yourself on your hands and knees in the crawling position with your hands positioned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Position your lower back into the ‘middle contract the deep position’ (see ‘Tummy Hollowing’) and contract the deep stomach muscles.
Next, attempt to extend your arm slowly forwards whilst keeping your deep muscles gently contracted and your lower back still. Do not let your lower back dip or twist. Return your arm to the start position and repeat with the other side. Repeat this exercise 10 times on each side.
Now, repeat the same procedure but this time extend your leg backwards slowly without tipping or twisting your lower back. Repeat this exercise 10 times on each side.
Finally, when you are able to perform both arm and leg movements with good control, try combining both movements at the same time. Ensure you move opposite limbs, for example the left arm and right leg, otherwise you will topple over. Repeat 10 times on each side. Remember, you are trying to perform these exercises slowly and with control to prevent injury to your back.