Video: Pilates Abs Routine

Lower back pain, hip, gluteal or leg pain can often be caused by weakness or lack of tone in the core muscles.  The core muscles are typically the abs, glutes, lower back and leg muscles.  When these muscles are weak the body lacks stability and starts to overcompensate for the weakness by relying on other muscles and changing the natural balance of the body.  All this often leads to pain in the lower back.

Pilates is a system of exercises which targets and strengthens core muscles. Even if you have done sit ups or crunches before you may find that this pilates workout will give you a good “burn” and work deeper muscles than you are used to.  You may feel like your stomach is tighter and more pulled in compared to before; perfect for the beach.  But most importantly, strong abs muscles contribute to a healthier body and a pain free back.

This video teaches some exercises for toning the abs.  This is the same exercise routine that I used when I was suffering from acute back pain.  It helped me tremendously and I hope that it will help you too.

Guidelines for performing the exercises:

  1. Check with a health care professional before you attempt these exercises to ensure that it is safe for you.  It is especially important to rule out any disc problems before you do this exercise.
  2. Do not do these exercises if you have any kind of acute low back pain or pain due to a herniated disc .
  3. Do the exercises carefully.  Failing to follow the instructions or consult with a health care professional could cause your symptoms to worsen.
  4. Pilates is a very technical exercise.  It works very well because of the finely-tuned movements.  To get the most of the exercises it is best and safest to go to a pilates class or work with a pilates instructor.
  5. Be very careful with the position of the lower back.  It should be in a neutral position for the exercises.  It should not be arched or rounded.  In some of the exercises, you may feel like you do  not have the strength to keep your lower back in a neutral position.  You may feel like you cannot stop it from arching or rounding.  In this case, do not do that particular exercise as it may do more harm than good.  Challenging and potentially dangerous exercises are the seal, the hundred and the hundred prep.
  6. You should feel a bit of a workout when doing these exercises, but you should not feel any pain.  If you do feel pain, especially sharp or intense pain, stop immediately.
  7. Do not feel like you have to do all the exercises.  Only do the ones that you are most comfortable with when you are starting.  Listen to your body.
  8. As you gain strength and confidence over the weeks, you may want to add back the exercises that you had skipped.  Only do so when you are sure that you can do the exercise safely.
  9. If you cannot find a comfortable, pain free way to do these exercises, discontinue immediately and seek the advice of a health care professional.
  10. Try to do the exercises at least twice a week to start off.   You can increase the frequency as you build up strength.