Table Pose to Upward Dog

Table Pose to Upward Dog

This ‘deepening’ video will have the same coordination as the supported Upward Dog, but as the hands are on the floor, the extension of the lower back will be much deeper. If this exercise creates too much pressure in the lower back, stay with the supported upward dog exercise for a while.

This exercise is a great and relatively easy way to bring the lower back into an extended position. I recommend doing this movement when you need to sit for extended amount of time. It can be done anywhere, as it only requires a flat surface, about 3 feet (about 1 meter) to hip height from the floor. The closer to the floor the surface is, the deeper the extension in your lower back.

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Chair Pose & Lower Back Strengthening

Chair Pose & Lower Back Strengthening

The Chair Pose is a great exercise to not only activate the whole midline, aka postural muscles around the spine, but also to strengthen the lower back specifically. At the same time, it is an exercise to learn the correct coordination for standing up from a seated position, or lifting something up from a low surface or floor.

As the Chair Pose is typically a forward bend, the tendency is often to flatten out or even bend the lower back too much. This position makes the lower back unstable, and prone to injuries (think about that sudden tightening of the lower back when we lift something up). This exercise focussed on bringing the lower back into a stable position, where the postural muscles are activated, making the lumbar spine stable, before standing up or lifting. The movement upward will then be properly supported by the glutes and thighs, rather than the lower back.

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Lower Back extension with Upward Dog (Supported)

Lower Back extension with Upward Dog (Supported)

This exercise is a great and relatively easy way to bring the lower back into an extended position. I recommend doing this movement when you need to sit for extended amount of time. It can be done anywhere, as it only requires a flat surface, about 3 feet (about 1 meter) to hip height from the floor. The closer to the floor the surface is, the deeper the extension in your lower back.

In the upward dog we have two forces that extend the whole spine: the weight of the pelvis is pulling the spine downward, while to crowd of the head is actively pulling upward. By moving the spine – especially the lower back – into a slight backbend, the lengthening sensation creates space for discs that might suffer from the long sedentary hours, while simultaneously balancing out the pressure in the discs between the lumbar vertebrae.

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Inner Core Exercise

Inner Core Exercise

This exercise is a strengthening exercise for the inner core (Transverse Abdominis), and shows how the activation of these muscles rely on the correct positioning of the lower ribs, lower back and pelvis. We first learn our (potentially unconscious) preferred postures and compensational movements in ab-strengthening exercises. Then we learn how to eliminate these habits to create a safe exercise, with a perfect balance between strengthening our postural muscles around the lumbar spine and inner core, while also relaxing the shoulders, neck and the diaphragm (breathing muscle). We also create the right coordination between the lower ribs, the lumbar spine and the pelvis, to keep the lumbar spine in its natural extension.

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Lower Back Strengthening with Leg Lift

Lower Back Strengthening with Leg Lift

This video shows a strengthening exercise for the lower back, in which we activate our postural muscles in the lumbar spine to stabilize the lower back. At the same time, we activate our inner core muscles (transverse abdominal) around our lower back, to create a support the extension of the lumbar spine.

This exercise focuses on the connection of the lower back, through the pelvis to the legs. It is essential to keep this connection active, so our legs can move freely towards the back of our body when we e.g. walk or run. Loosing our natural lumbar curve will create a stiff and unstable lower back. This will lead to a stiff walking that will become more a shuffling, than a free movement of the legs.

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