As a follow-up to last weeks article about “how to flex your spine”. Here are some easy to follow exercise patterns to begin your spinal flexion journey.
These can be done by anybody and you do not need to be in good physical shape to start.
Lumbar Chair Flex
Sitting in an physical chair with a strong back, or leaning against the wall in “supported chair pose”. Working with your lumbar (lower) spine, flex or push the the those vertebra into the wall or back of the chair. Hold lumbar flexion for 5-15 seconds, then release and repeat.
Note: The lumbar spine consists of the five vertebrae between your rib cage and hip.
Seated Cat with Scapula Retraction
From a seated position or even a chair. Begin by retracting the scapula and hold them together in the upper trunk.
Concentrating on the lumbar spine begin to take the back into flexion. Try deliberately rounding your lumbar (lower) back creating a shell for strength. Release into neutral or light spinal extension and then repeat.
Sitting Bones to Sacrum
Begin sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you and the knees bent. Using the legs as weight, slowly begin to shift from your sitting bones onto the sacrum (the flat part of your hip below your lumbar spine).
Hold for time on the sacrum, then return to the sitting bones. Work on making a smooth transition and moving slowly.
Segmental Trunk Flex
Begin laying on your back with your feet on the floor below your knees. Engage IAP (intra abdominal pressure) in the trunk and then flex your lumbar spine into the floor pushing it flat against the ground and maintain tension.
Then add cervical (neck) flexion taking the chin towards the chest and holding at end range.
Finally reach the arms towards the knees and flex the thoracic spine by lifting the scapula off the floor as much as possible.
Work on holding all three sections of the spine in flexion, then reverse the process to release and come down.
Eccentric Neural Grooving (ENG) involves training lengthened muscles under tension.
In the case of a sit-up, this involves lowering to the floor in reverse as slow as possible using the “tension” as a way to resist the flexion of each vertebra.
Begin sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you and the knees bent. Engage IAP (intra abdominal pressure) in the trunk and then flex your lumbar spine creating a shell.
Using the legs as weight, slowly begin to shift from your sitting bones onto the sacrum (the flat part of your hip below your lumbar spine).
Moving as slow as possible, maintain spinal flexion as you shift the weight (tension) from the sacrum to the lumbar to the thoracic and eventually cervical spine.
Once on the floor roll to the side coming back up to the starting position and repeat the process.
*Advanced: once spinal flexion is strong, one should be able to return to the sit-up position moving in the opposite direction. DO NOT USE MOMENTUM