Okay…I’m stumped on this one. And I’ll willing to chalk this up to still being fairly new as a trainer. One of my clients has a very weak lower back and lower abdominals. In an effort to build these areas and strengthening them I have her doing the “superman” for lower back and then lower abdominal work that involves supporting her lower back by placing her hands under that area. However, even with her back supported she is still feeling discomfort and can’t complete reps…i’m lost on how to strengthening these specific areas when the exact moves used to strengthen her lower abs and core are causing discomfort due to weakness (i’m in an endless loop). My apologies if I’m missing something obvious, believe me i’m reading and studying and reading up and perusing work out programs…but would very much value some input and suggestions here. Thank you in advance!
Great tips here so far here. I’m glad that your client was cleared for exercise, since that’s really the first step. I wanted to mention that sometimes the hand position can affect a client’s ability to do the ‘Superman’ move. As she improves her core strength, you could see if having arms by her sides or even under her armpits helps with the discomfort in her back.
Other exercises you can include are isometrics & anti-rotation movements. Basically, having your client engage her core during movements that aren’t specifically made for the core can help with body awareness & core muscle recruitment. Planks are great and can be pre-gressed as necessary to protect the low back (done on one or both knees, elbows, etc.). Anti-rotation is when the core stays straight & engaged while another limb moves. This type of stabilization is really great for the lower abs, low back & obliques. A move I use a lot is a cable or band rotation. The client stands next to a cable machine or band tethered at about waist height. They turn their arms & ribs away from the tether point but are not allowed to move their lower half. Keeping knees slightly bent, glutes tight, & arms long keeps the work loaded on the core, & it doesn’t take much resistance to get results! You can also have her try basic movements on one leg as this forces the pelvic stabilizers to get stronger (‘airplane’, ‘star’).
Always start with a pain-free range of motion. If the move causes pain, it should be removed from the program. You can always try it later when the client gets a little stronger.