Fortunately, health experts in recent years have emphasized the need to develop strong core muscles as key to better overall health and improved back health. Movements or poses in a number of popular exercise programs, such as Pilates and some forms of yoga or Tai Chi, focus on building these muscles.

Exercising the abdominal muscles and back muscles should be included as part of a daily routine of good health, like brushing teeth. To gain the benefits of strong and supportive abs and back muscles, a full set of exercises should only take 10 to 20 minutes to complete.


Guidelines for Abdominal Exercises and Back Exercises

Some general guidelines include:

  • Do not start exercises for the first time during an acute back pain episode without first consulting a physician or a spine specialist.
  • Do not stop exercising just because pain diminishes or an injury appears "healed"; rather, add back and abdominal exercises into a daily routine.
  • Complete a combination of flexion and extension exercises to balance the trunk muscles.
  • In general, do exercises in sets of 3 to 5 repetitions a minimum of 4 times a week.
  • Be patient; strength building may take 6 weeks or more to show results.
  • Consider working with a physical therapist, ATC (Certified Athletic Trainer) or trained specialist to develop the proper form and exercises that are targeted at specific physical needs. Expert, one-on-one advice is particularly helpful when beginning a back strengthening routine using McKenzie exercises or doing Lumbar Stabilization movements to ensure the right muscles are engaged

    See How a Physical Therapist Can Help with Exercise

Dr. Thomas Hyde is a chiropractor who retired with more than 30 years of experience treating spine pain and soft tissue disorders in athletes and active patients.

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