Lumbar Mobility/Stability Exercises
The spine and surrounding musculature is an area of the body with a complex task. It has to be mobile enough to allow us to get in and out of various positions, but also strong enough to maintain a posture when desired and control the forces placed on it from our own body weight and external loads. Having the ability to transition between these concepts of mobility and stability is critical for maintaining a healthy lower back. Check out some basics to work on developing good control of the lumbar spine:
Pelvic tilts: this exercise can be completed standing, in a golf posture, or lying on your back with the knees bent. Perform a posterior pelvic tilt by engaging the abdominal muscles and glutes to tuck the pelvis (think flat butt), tucking the tailbone and bringing the hip bones towards your ribs. Relax and complete the opposite, anterior pelvic tilt, by arching your back (think bubble butt or sticking your butt out). Attempt several repetitions of each while trying to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Bird dogs: start on all fours with your hips above your knees and shoulders above elbows. Draw your belly button in to engage the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and around the spine. Extend one hand and the opposite foot away from your body attempting to get as long as possible. Do your best to maintain your spine and pelvis position throughout the exercise. Alternate sides and use a dowel or foam roller if you’d like as a cue to help maintain a steady position.
Side plank: lay on your side and place your elbow directly below your shoulder. With your legs completely extended, raise your hips off the ground by engaging your core and hips. Focus on maintaining a neutral spine and keeping your shoulders stacked. This can also be completed from the knees to reduce the amount of body weight being lifted. Many other variations of the side plank can be completed by altering body angle, surface, or incorporating movements.