Bad Backs And Core Stability Exercises
Athletes often experience lower back pain for two reasons: they are too tight in one place, and or too weak in another place. The place that is usually tight is the quadriceps and hip flexors. Too much sitting can cause the muscle on the front of the legs and hips to get overly tight, add in workouts and small amounts of stretching, and those muscles are feeling very tight. Additionally, since most athletes rely on the large muscles of the thighs and hips to move they can get overused while their counterparts, the glutes, hamstrings, and abs get weaker as they are used less.
Great ways to avoid back pain are to use Flexibility Exercises with the Ballistic Bands to increase mobility and flexibility of the hips and legs, while using the Recovery Foam Roller and other myofascial release techniques to break up tight muscles in these areas. Exercises like Manual Resisted Hamstring Curls, glute bridges, and dynamic warm ups will help athletes to keep the body healthy while improving performance.
Core Body Workouts
A safe and effective core stability exercise athletes can use is the Kbands Stability Ball Wood Choppers. This core strengthening exercise doesn’t use crunches or sit ups to strengthen the core. Instead the Kbands Stability Ball Wood Choppers use the abdominal muscles stabilizing abilities to create and maintain tension on the athlete core for an extended period of time. Athletes will also use small movements to help the core stabilize the torso during activity.
To perform the Kbands Stability Ball Wood Choppers athletes will need a fully inflated Kbands Stability Ball and enough space for the athlete to lay their body on the ground. Athletes will come down on their knee with the Kbands Stability Ball in front of them. Athletes will then place the elbows on the Kbands Stability Ball and raise their hips off the ground to balance on the Kbands Stability Ball from a plank position. To maintain this great plank position, and keep pressure off the low back, athletes will keep a straight line going down their back by pushing their feet into the ground, squeezing the butt and abs, while keeping a broad chest and their shoulders back. Athletes’ elbows should begin directly under the shoulders. This positioning will keep a proper angle at the hips, allowing the core muscles to stabilize the athletes’ body throughout the core stability exercise movements.
Core Strengthening Exercises
After good body positioning is achieved athletes will begin to perform the first of two core stability movements which make up the Kbands Stability Ball Wood Choppers. First, athletes will maintain a rigid position with their body as they begin to roll their elbows away from their body. This is a challenging movement and will become more challenging the farther the elbows move away from the center of the body. For this reason athletes should begin with easier, shallower reaches away from the body. Then as the athletes cores become stronger they can begin to challenge themselves more by moving the elbows farther above the ears.
If athletes feel the low back collapse, the hips fall to the ground, or the shoulders falling out of position they should shorten the movement. This will get athletes stronger faster, with fewer injuries or set backs.
Athletes will complete 10-15 repetitions of the “reaching” portion of the core strengthening exercise before keeping the hips up and moving directly into the rotational movement portion of the core stability exercise.
Once athletes complete 10-15 elbow reaches away from the body they will begin to make small, clockwise circles with their elbows on the Kbands Stability Ball. Athletes should move in a slow circle for 10-15 seconds before switching directions and moving counter clockwise for an additional 10-15 seconds. After completing all repetitions and core exercises athletes will rest for 30-45 seconds then move into the next set of the Kbands Stability Ball Wood Choppers. Athletes will complete 5 total sets of the core strengthening exercise before moving on with additional Endurance or Strength Training Exercises.
Beginner Ab Exercises
Athletes who do not possess the core strength to complete the traditional Kbands Stability Ball Wood Choppers can perform a simpler and easier version of the core exercise. This less advanced version should also be used by athletes who are experiencing low back pain, but still need to perform core strengthening exercises. The reduction in needed core strength and stability will place much less pressure on the back.
To perform this less advanced ad exercise athletes will keep their knees on the floor as they place their elbows on the Kbands Stability Ball (under the shoulders) and raise their feet off the ground. Athletes should avoid crossing the feet during the core exercise as this often leads to over tightness in the hip and thigh areas.
From this kneeling position athletes will perform the same combination of ab strengthening exercises for the same number of repetitions. 10-15 reaches away from the body, followed by 10-15 seconds of clockwise and counter clockwise rotations before taking 30-45 seconds of recovery. Athletes with lower back injuries or tightness should keep the volume of repetitions low with plenty of recovery time between sets. These athletes should also be paying extra attention to the angle of their hips and not allow too much flexing of the hips during the Kbands Stability Ball Wood Choppers.
Athletes who are recovering from low back, hip, or thigh injuries can help heal their body and get back on the field quicker by using the Rejuvenating Stretching Sequence with the Recovery Foam Roller. This release of tightness will help athletes recover quicker from their injuries, give them more range of motion in their movements, and be a preventative measure against future injuries. Athletes can go to the Recovery Section to learn more about the advantages of Foam Rolling, Flexibility Exercises, and Dynamic Warmups.