I would be cautious with the AB wheel rollouts. They are an advanced exercise and will already require significant core strength to be performed correctly ( See http://www.tmuscle.com/article/sports_body_training_performance/anterior_core_training ). I would be careful with hanging leg raises as well.
A very back sparing way to train your rectus abdominis are Stuart McGill’s curl-ups. You can make them more difficult by prebracing your abs and deep breathing. Stuart McGill’s “Low Back Disorders” book is a recommended read for anyone with low back problems. The two other exercises for strengthening the core recommended in the book are side bridges and bird dogs. Both of them can be made harder by doing pyramids (e.g. 5x10sec hold, 4x10sec, 3x10sec).
In addition to strenghtening the core, your friend should look for ways to make his work more back friendly. Especially, since his work seems to have caused his back problems in the first place. E.g. does he currently do activities with a flexed back during his work. Can they be modified, so he can keep a neutral spine. “Low Back Disorders” contains a lot of ideas on this point.[/quote]
Thanks for the recommendation, I will definitely get the book.
His English is not too good though, IÂ´ll have to write a summary.
His job is no longer a problem, he works to become a lawyer now, so hours and hours in a chair.
When would I know that he can safely progress to more advanced exercises and if I can make him work his abs, glutes and lower back I could make him work his upper back through seated rowing movements or would that neglect some part of his back that is important for “structural integrity”?
This guy does not want to be pretty, he just wants to prevent that people cut open his abdomen and take out his intestines to operate on his spine.
So he is kind of motivated.