Engaging abdominal muscles are important for spinal support. It is helpful to understand which abdominal muscles are most effective to engage for low back health.
Specific abdominal muscles are most effective in lowering tension in your lower spine and others lengthen your upper spine.
The transverses, help your lengthen your lower spine. They are the weaker abdominal muscles and can be difficult to isolate. Behind the transverses muscles is the top of your sacrum (the flat bone at the base of your spine) and when you draw them in your sacrum lengthens, reducing low back compression.
To begin to find them, try this:
- Stand with your feet straight ahead, about hip width apart.
- Become aware of your low back and notice if there is any tension.
- Now, pretend you are trying to zip up tight jeans and slowly draw your belly in about a thumbprint below your navel.
- Keep your buttocks and the rest of your body relaxed. Try to only isolate your abs and do not over effort.
- Slowly draw them in, and then release them a few times.
Did you feel any difference in you low back when you activated them? Let me know in the comments below what you noticed. If you did not notice anything, keep practicing.