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Abs... rounded back? :S

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:52 am
by Thomas
Hey there,
for the past 3 years the PTs I've known have been told to perform ab exercises with our lower backs keeping a natural curve in order to maintain good back health. However, I've read recently that keeping a curve increases the pressure on the lumbar discs through contraction of the hip flexors. Any suggestions on how to approach this?

Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:09 pm
by Scott Ismari
I have been doing crunches for over 23 years without any lumbar disc problems. Concentrate on rolling yoru body up like a carpet , raising your shoulder girlde off the mat right before you feel the hip flexors take over.

The only thing I advise is NOT to cup your head in your hands or pull up , causing pressure on the neck.

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:39 pm
by Guest
Try tilting your hips up so that your lower back is flat on the floor. Keep your feet flat on the floor also with your knees up. Also, like was said earlier, do not cup your head with your hands, try looking up, some people like to pick a spot direclty overhead on the ceiling and keep their eyes locked on that. If the floor is still putting pressure on your back after you try that and you cannot find any other way to remedy it, try using a stability ball.

Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:37 am
by O
Keeping your knees bent will actually cause greater psoas activation because it now has to contract at a higher level to attain hip flexion torque due to its shortened length. Flattening your back will take the spine out of elastic equilibrium and cause greater streses in the passive tissues. Have one leg bent to 90 degrees the other straight to add torque to the pelvis to prevent the lumbar spine flattening. Try to picture yourself performing the rotation through your thoracic spine rather than the lumbar. I would also advocate holding the contraction for 8secs max as this will be far better for back health than repetition given than muscle endurance has a greater role to play than strength. Of course training for some performance may mean you want the greater psoas activation etc. Horses for courses.