Exercises for Abdominals without Hurting Your Back

November 22, 2019
To correctly perform abdominals, it is essential to control your breathing and protect your back from the floor. Read about other recommendations in detail here!

The abdominal muscles cover the abdominal wall. These muscles include the internal oblique, external oblique, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, and pyramidalis. The abdominals are responsible for stabilizing the body, posture, protecting internal organs, and so on.

You might like: 8 Habits to Help Treat Low Back Pain

How to do abdominals properly

Exercises to train the abs are very popular today, not only for health but also for aesthetic reasons. After all, who doesn’t want to have a flat and firm belly?

However, many people do not know how to perform this exercise correctly.

As a result, they end up getting back pain, especially in the lower back. Therefore, in this article, you will discover some very simple tricks to exercise your abdominals without affecting your back.

First step: control your breathing

To exercise your abs well, it is essential to maintain good breathing techniques. A common mistake is to hold your breath during exercise. However, you should ideally be inhaling before contracting your abdominal muscles and exhaling while contracting.

In fact, experts recommend exhaling by releasing the air through your mouth, letting it out gradually. This is because if you hold your breath, you increase the pressure in the abdomen by overworking your diaphragm. If you add this pressure to the effort you’re making to execute the exercise, it could even lead to a hernia.

You might like: 6 Ways Your Daily Routine Worsens Your Back Pain

Be careful with your lower back

Woman doing situps in her living room on mat abdominals
When doing abdominal exercises it is important to havegood posture to avoid injuries to the lumbar region.

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints of the adult population. In fact, this is mainly due to the sedentary lifestyle people tend to ​​lead. A sedentary lifestyle and bad posture during work or study are the biggest triggers.

However, doing abdominal exercises incorrectly can aggravate your back problems instead of helping you strengthen your abdominals. Therefore, it is necessary to pay extra attention to your technique during exercise. First, it’s a good idea to use a mat to protect your back from the floor.

Also, if the exercise involves raising your legs, try not to lift your back off the ground. To do this you can place your hands under the buttock. As a result, it will be easier to prevent your back from lifting.

On the other hand, if you have problems with your lower back, it’s recommended to replace traditional abdominal exercises with other exercises. Planks or hypopressive exercises are excellent alternatives. Hypopressive exercises are static exercises that improve muscle tone in both the lumbar zone and abdominals, without putting pressure on or straining the spine.

Do sit-ups without straining your neck

It’s very common for people to strain their neck while doing traditional abdominals where you lie on your back and pull your upper body up towards your knees. When trying to raise your upper body, many people try to do it with the neck or the back. This can cause severe damage to your neck area.

To avoid this problem, it’s essential to focus on using only the strength of your abs to pull yourself up. You can also rest your neck on top of your hands by holding them behind your neck but be careful not to pull your neck.

In fact, if you already have problems with your neck, it’s better to do abdominals by using leg movements, leaving your head on the floor.

The best exercises for abdominals to avoid getting hurt

Abdominals woman doing plank exercises at home

The plank is one of the best alternatives to sit-ups that doesn’t involve overexerting the lower back. In addition, it has the advantage that it also works other muscle groups.

As you learned earlier, traditional exercises for abdominals typically involve lying on your back, lifting your upper body to “sit up”. However, there are many other ways to exercise the abdominal area. In fact, the alternatives are much less harmful to your back and neck.

For example, try planks. Planks consist of lying face down on the floor and supporting yourself with your forearms and toes. If you’re doing it correctly, your body should form a straight line, without raising or lowering your buttocks too much. When you do this, try to do several sets of planks by holding this position for about 30 seconds to one minute at a time.

In this position, there are many options for variations, such as alternating raising one leg and then the other. Similarly, you can try lateral planks. To do lateral planks, you start by lying on one of your sides, with one leg resting on top of the other. Then, by supporting yourself with your forearm, lift your hips while keeping your body straight. Also, you can raise your hand and point it toward the ceiling. This way, you’ll be exercising your obliques.

Conclusion

If you want to have a nice, flat tummy and also improve your stability and posture, you should be doing abdominal exercises. However, be careful to keep the tips you learned today in mind.

Try to control your breathing, focus your muscular exertion on the abdominals, and protect your back. This will help prevent or reduce the risk of lumbar and neck injuries. Additionally, you will be able to exercise this area more efficiently.

  • Allegri M, Montella S, Salici F, et al. Mechanisms of low back pain: a guide for diagnosis and therapy. F1000Res. 2016;5:F1000 Faculty Rev-1530. Published 2016 Oct 11. doi:10.12688/f1000research.8105.2
  • Chou R. Low back pain (chronic). BMJ Clin Evid. 2010;2010:1116. Published 2010 Oct 8.
  • Your lungs and exercise. Breathe (Sheff). 2016;12(1):97–100. doi:10.1183/20734735.ELF121
  • Nowotny, J., Nowotny-Czupryna, O., Brzęk, A., Kowalczyk, A., & Czupryna, K. (2012). Body posture and syndromes of back pain. Ortopedia Traumatologia Rehabilitacja. https://doi.org/10.5604/15093492.933788