Spine Stabilization 101

Must-know exercises for a healthy spine

As described in chapter 6 of Take Back Control

TRANSVERS ABDOMINIS ACTIVATION

How to perform this excercise

  1. Lay on your back on a firm, flat surface with your knees bent, feet flat and head supported on a pillow.
  2. Place your hands just above your hip bones in front and slightly toward the centre of your belly on each side to monitor the contraction of the transversus abdominis muscle.
  3. Find your neutral spine position by slowly rolling your hips backward to press your back toward the surface, then slowly roll your hips forward to lift your back away from the surface. Slowly move between these two positions to find your most comfortable position. This is your neutral spine position.
  4. Keep your neutral spine position throughout the exercise.
  5. Gently pull your belly button toward your spine (abdominal bracing), you should feel a slow and deep tension under your fingers without any superficial abdominals activation (rigidity of the rib cage) or any movement of the pelvis.
  6. Hold the contraction for the recommended time.

How to perform this excercise

  1. Lie on your back and place both knees and hips bent to 90 degrees and both arms pointed towards the ceiling.
  2. Activate your lower abdominals (transversus abdomini) by bringing your belly button inward and by activating your pelvic floor muscles 20 to 30% of a maximal contraction.
  3. Maintain a steady abdominal breathing while you lower one leg straight and lower the opposite arm over the head.
  4. Just before you touch the ground return the leg and arm to the starting position and repeat with the other leg and opposite arm.

How to perform this excercise

  1. Take a four point position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Your back must be slightly arched and your chin must be tucked in.
  3. Maintain a steady abdominal breathing while you activate your lower abdominals (transversus abdomini) by bringing your belly button inward and by activating your pelvic floor muscles 20 to 30% of maximal contraction.

How to perform this excercise

  1. Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and your back in neutral position.
  2. Activate your lower abdominals (transversus abdomini) by bringing your belly button inward and by activating your pelvic floor muscles (inner thigh) 20 to 30% of maximal contraction.
  3. Maintain a steady abdominal breathing while you slide one leg out keeping it straight and keeping your back and pelvis completely still.
  4. Return slowly to the initial position and repeat beginning with the other leg.

MULTIFIDUS ACTIVATION

How to perform this excercise

  1. Get on your hands and knees (four point position) with your knees and hands, hip and shoulders width apart. Your back is in a neutral position (slightly arched) and your chin must be tucked in.
  2. Activate your lower abdominals (transversus abdomini).
  3. Maintain a steady abdominal breathing while you lift one leg backwards, keeping your back in a neutral position.
  4. Return to the initial position and repeat with the other leg.

How to perform this excercise

  1. Lie on your stomach with the arms and legs stretched out, making your body as long as possible.
  2. Lift your arms and legs off the floor and reach forward with your arms and backward with your legs.
  3. Hold the position for a few moments, relax and repeat.

How to perform this excercise

  1. Lie prone on the floor with your arms beside your body with palms facing down.
  2. Tuck your chin in, draw the navel in, activate your glutes and calf muscles.
  3. Slowly lift your chest off the floor while slowly squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Lower to the floor and repeat.
  5. Keep your chin tucked and don’t arch your head back; keep your entire spine straight through this exercise.

How to perform this excercise

  1. Lie on your stomach with your back in neutral position.
  2. Activate your lower abdominals (transversus abdomini) by bringing your belly button inward and by activating your pelvic floor muscles (inner thigh) 20 to 30% of maximal contraction.
  3. Maintain a steady abdominal breathing while you lift one leg up, keeping it straight and keeping your back and pelvis completely still.
  4. Return slowly to the initial position and repeat, beginning with the other leg.

How to perform this excercise

  1. Lie face down on a mat with your arms behind your head and your chin tucked in.
  2. Lift your upper body up by pulling your shoulder blades together without lifting your feet.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat.

How to perform this excercise

  1. Get on your hands and knees (four point position) with your knees and hands, hip and shoulders width apart. Your back is in neutral position (slightly arched) and your chin must be tucked in.
  2. Activate your lower abdominals (transversus abdomini) by bringing your belly button inward and by activating your pelvic floor muscles 20 to 30% of maximal contraction.
  3. Maintain a steady abdominal breathing while you simultaneously lift one leg backwards and the opposite arm overhead keeping your back in neutral position.
  4. Return to the initial position and repeat with the other leg and arm.