T Nation

Lower Ab Training with Low Back Injury

Hi,
I’m hoping some readers can offer feedback. In brief, I sustained a herniated disc through improper lifting five years ago…since then, if I’m not careful, the herniated disc flares up putting me out of commission. So, I execute exercises with neutral back - no flexion to lumbar spine.

How do I develop my lower abs without putting back into flexed position and risk re-injury? Any exercise suggestions? Many thanks to all who reply.

Holding back from any form of flexion isn’t good for you. Your back becomes to stiff and you can’t absorb shocks to your body (for example when you stumble all the stress goes into the stiff section as it can’t transfer the stress further).

I also have bad back. I found few things that are very good for me:

  • back muscles relaxation and elongation
  • lower abs training - just don’t do anything that hurt, start low, build endurance first.
  • avoiding stability exercises as planks if I can’t do them with perfect posture or slightkly flexed abs (my back will become even more stiff otherwise).
    Lastly you have to experiment. There are plenty of theories but they are not applicable to everyone.

Hi Sport,
Many thanks for your reply!
Wishing you good health and a healthy back as well.

Stuart McGill has some great exercises. Search youtube for videos on an exercise called “stir the pot.” This site probably has video of it too. It works all of the abdominal muscles. I would be hesitant to do any flexion based exercises with a herniated disk until your flare up symptoms go away but I’m not a spine expert.

If you’re a bodybuilder and need definition in your lower abs, it makes sense to be looking into ways to bring them out (the best is low body fat and general ab exercises). If you’re not a bodybuilder, it would be best to focus your attention on keeping your back healthy and improving your overall strength.