Low Back Help Part 2: Bracing
Once you feel your Transversus Abdominis (TrA) are activating (Part 1), then you can move onto ‘bracing’. This is working and isolating all the deep core muscles that are important for lower back and pelvic stabilisation.
You will need:
Yoga mat/ carpet/ grass
Step 1. Find Neutral Spine
Lie down on a yoga mat, carpet or on the grass.
To do this, lie on the ground on your back with knees bent. Have knees hip width apart and feet (preferably bare) slightly turned out. Push your lower back to the ground and let us call that position, position ‘0’. Now push your belly button up towards the ceiling (or sky if you’re outside) and that position is position ’10’. Pelvis stays on the ground here. Neutral spine is ‘5-6’, so mid point between the two positions. Your lower back should feel relaxed and neutral.
Step 2. BRACE
While in the neutral spine position and breathing normally, activate your TrA. Then bear down gently as if you are going to the bathroom and brace all the muscles around your low back and pelvis. Pretend you have a large pair of underpants on or a girdle and gently pull everything in that girdle towards your middle (imagine a spot between your belly button and your low back).
Step 3. Move arms, one at a time while BRACING : LEVEL 1
Once you feel you are activating your core, you can then start to work a bit harder. Move one arm above head and then then lower back down to your side. This should take 10 seconds one way. Repeat other side.
Move foot off the ground and knee up to a right angle position. Repeat other side and breathing normally and BRACING the whole time.
Step 4. Straighten leg out, one at a time while BRACING : LEVEL 2
This time, while in the brace position, straighten leg out in front of you and gently touch the ground with your heel. This should take 10 seconds to do each way. Repeat other side.
Step 5. Move opposite arm and leg while BRACING : LEVEL 3
With this level you are moving opposite arm and leg at the same time. This is a difficult exercise and may take you a couple of week to get to this level when starting.
Once you feel your awareness of your core muscles has improved, you can then use this awareness and incorporate it into your daily exercise, walks or different postures at home and work.
Any problems with this exercise, then please feel free to contact us or speak to your low back chiropractor at your next visit.