Scientific research indicates that core-targeting exercises such as the Balancing Femoral Head And Core Strengthener help to relieve chronic lower back pain. This is great news for the estimated 50% of adults who suffer from this aggravating and uncomfortable (and at times excruciating) condition.
But even if you don’t experience backaches, this weekend’s exercise is still relevant – in addition to strengthening the core, it also works the crucial femoral head, improves balance, and increases mobility in the hips.
Let’s start by taking a look at a recent study on alleviating chronic back pain with core strengthening exercises.
Exercise builds strength to achieve bone health results, ranging from stronger bones to better balance. Now you can add “decreased back pain” to that list!
Four different studies were reviewed by researchers who analyzed the specific ways in which strength and resistance training affect lower back pain. They found that in comparison with resistance training that worked superficial muscles, core strengthening exercises provided superior relief, as expressed in the quote below:
“According to the results of various scales and evaluation instruments, core strength training is more effective than typical resistance training for alleviating chronic low back pain.”1
Not only that, but the type of core exercises mattered – all types helped, but moves that worked the deep muscles of the core were more effective:
“All of the core strength training strategies examined in this study assist in the alleviation of chronic low back pain; however, we recommend focusing on training the deep trunk muscles to alleviate chronic low back pain.”1
What are the study authors referring to as the “deep trunk muscles”?
These are the deep core muscles, which attach directly to the spine and pelvis. The ones we’re going to focus on today are the transversus abdominis (sometimes called the transverse abdominis), erector spinae, hip flexors, internal obliques, and the multifidus.
The transversus abdominis lies deep in the abdominal cavity, attaching from the bottom six ribs to the top of the pelvis and then to the pubic crest at the front base off the pelvis.
The erector spinae lie directly against the vertebrae. You use them whenever you straighten your spine and extend your vertebrae, and they’re vital for correct posture. Because of their direct contact with the vertebrae, they are highly instrumental in alleviating back pain.
The hip flexors include the psoas and glutes (buttocks). The hip flexors allow you to move your legs up toward your chest, out to the side, and backward. They are also key in stabilizing your pelvis and lower back.
The internal obliques lie along your sides, and are located deep in the torso. They connect inside your pelvis, allowing you to rotate your trunk.
Lastly, the multifidus is a back muscle, attaching along your spine and working with the transversus abdominus to stabilize your vertebrae.
All of these deep muscles are worked in this weekend’s exercise, and the rotation of the leg (which you’ll see next) takes the femoral head through a significant range of motion, increasing flexibility and strength in this crucial joint.
Because the Balancing Femoral Head And Core Strengthener involves standing on one foot, it’s a good idea to stand near a bed, chair, or wall as you get the hang of this exercise.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bring one knee up to hip level, and then bring your knee out to the side. Your thigh should be as close to straight out to the side as possible.
- Bring your knee back around to the front, but keep your knee bent; don’t put your foot down.
- Bring your knee out to the side again.
- Repeat this motion 10 times (or as many times as you comfortably can up to 10 times), moving fairly rapidly.
- Switch legs and repeat on the other side.
Since your core muscles are so important, I suggest you follow this exercise with these Weekend Challenges that also target the core:
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System Includes Core-Strengthening Moves
If you have Densercise™, then you know that good form is important in exercise. That’s why so many of the 50+ moves in Densercise™ include the instruction to engage or tighten your core. Effective, bone density-increasing exercises like those found in Densercise™ begin with a strong core, and so does freedom from lower back pain.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
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Please share your experiences with this and other exercises by leaving a comment below.
Have a great weekend!
1 Chang, Wen-Dien, PhD, Lin, Hung-Yu, PhD, and Lai, Ping-Tung, BS. “Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain.” J Phys Ther Sci. 27. 3. (2015): 619-622. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4395677/