Lower Stomach and Back

Week 2

Lower Stomach and Lower Back Muscles

Bicycle Crunches do a good job of strengthening your stomach muscles, especially your upper stomach muscles (your six pack). They also do a good job of strengthening the muscles in your low back. This week you’ll focus on strengthening your lower stomach muscles.

Two exercises that work your lower stomach muscles are the Pelvic Tilt and Leg Raises. These two strengthening exercises also work the muscles in your low back.

Special note: If you have a herniated (bulging or slipped) disc, don’t do these exercises.

Week 2 Schedule

Warm-up each day this week by stretching. Follow stretching with one or more core stabilization exercises of your choice. Then do one or more sets of Bicycle Crunches. End your session with Pelvic Tilts and Leg Raises.

Pelvic Tilt

1.Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.

2.Exhale while you tighten your stomach so that the small of your back goes flat against the floor (your pelvis will rock slightly forward and up).

3.Hold for 1-2 seconds, then inhale and slowly return to the starting position.

4.Repeat steps 2-3 a maximum of 12-15 times.

  1. 5.Repeat steps 2-4 two to three times.


Leg Raises

Special note: For those of you not suffering from a herniated disc and able to do this exercise, a word of caution. The very first time you do Leg Raises, lower your leg only a short way from your straight up position (step 3). Over time (days and weeks), gradually lower your leg further toward the ground. If you lower too far too early, you can cause major strain to your low back. I know. Because of my spondylolisthesis, I don’t do Leg Raises because they strain my low back. To strengthen my low back, I do Bicycle Crunches.

1.Lie flat on your back, legs slightly bent, feet resting on heels, arms at your sides, hands placed slightly under your butt.

2.Exhale into a Pelvic Tilt and lift your legs straight up, keeping your low back flat against the floor.

3.Inhale, then exhale your legs as close to the ground as you comfortably can, keeping your low back flat against the floor (the lower you go, the more work your lower stomach and back muscles do, but don’t go so low that you strain your back).

4.Inhale, then exhale your legs back up.

  1. 5.Repeat steps 3-4 as many times as you comfortably can, 12-15 repetitions maximum.

  2. 6.Repeat steps 3-5 two to three times.