Most people think that they are exercising their core, but they're doing themselves a disservice. Sit ups, leg lifts, twisting and rotational motions all have been PROVEN to cause disc disease. Yet people keep doing them. Why?
- "I've always done it that way"
- "I saw it on youtube"
- "I learned it in high school"
- "My trainer told me to do it"
- "Rocky Balboa did it"
- "This person in the gym was doing it and she's in great shape"
- "There's this machine in the gym, and it looks like it's for your back"
All of these seem reasonable at first, but the research has shown that over time, the spinal discs will wear out at a faster rate if you do exercises that strain them. I've been a chiropractor in Camarillo for over 20 years and just when you've seen it all, another infomercial seems to reinvent exercises that make people worse.
So what's a good workout for the core?
Here's the list, then I'll explain why:
- Isometric contractions of the abdomen while maintaining the natural curve in the back. This includes the Mcgill curl, planks, stir-the-pot and hanging swings.
- Side planks, farmer walks, kettlebell walks.
- Bird dogs/pointer dogs.
- Palloff presses in front, above head.
- Pull ups/pulldowns
A good and safe core routine involves keeping the spine stable and strong while NOT MOVING it. This could literally mean that any time your lower spine is moving, whether it's forward, backwards, to the side or (gasp) twisting, it's a bad core routine. This is largely true. The purpose of your core muscles is to RESIST motion, not create it. If you go through the list that I have mentioned, you'll see that the lower spine performs NO MOTION during any of those exercises, yet they are a challenge to the muscles, nevertheless.
Ask me how to do this as a routine and try it for a month. I know that you'll feel much better and be surprised how much better your lower back will feel.