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Hey! this is Rick Kaselj from ExercisesForInjuries.com and Fix My Back Pain. I wanted to go through a safe crunch exercise that is good on the back.
Typical Crunch or Sit-up
I will get Orsy to demonstrate the typical crunch or sit-up you end up seeing.
With this one, we are going through this, and it ends up putting a lot of load on the spine, and a lot of times, what people say is that it makes their back sore, it irritates their back, and sometimes it will end up leading to a back injury.
A Safe Way to Do the Crunch
There is a safe way to tweak this crunch or sit up to make it safe. And this one is called a curl-up. This tweak works the abdominal area but puts a low load on the spine.
I will get Orsy to lie back, and what Orsy is doing is one leg is straight, and I am bending the other. What this ends up doing is it ends up locking the pelvis, so it doesn’t rock back and forth. It keeps the pelvis where it’s at and that curve in the spine, not to stress that low back area. If that pelvis tilts back or if that back flattens out, we lose the arch, and we put that back at greater risk and greater strain.
Then what Orsy is going to do is she will put one of her hands underneath her low back, and that hand will be her gauge when it comes to maintaining that curve in the spine; so there shouldn’t be a drastic increase in the pressure on her hand, and she will want to maintain that curve and maintain a constant pressure of her body on her hand. Now the other hand is put behind her head, so she ends up cupping her head to keep her head aligned with the rest of her body.
Now, what Orsy is going to do now is curl up.
She is just going to start lifting her head off the mat and coming back up, which is working on the rectus abdominal area, the six-pack that people end up wanting to work on.
And then, she can make it more difficult by lifting a little higher so that the shoulder blades come off a touch. And then the third level is coming up and holding for a second or two and then coming back down.
A Summary of the Curl Up Exercise
There you go. Give that exercise a go. If you end up doing sit-ups, and they irritate your back, try the Curl modification, remembering:
- One leg straight, one leg bent. That locks the pelvis.
- One hand underneath your lower back to maintain the curve in your back.
- The other hand is behind your neck to keep your head in alignment with the rest of your spine.
Then you focus on that movement in the mid-back area, lifting instead of in your lower back. And pick the level that works best for you, just lifting your head off, lifting your shoulder blades off, or going to hold.
Take care and bye.
Rick Kaselj, MS