Keeping muscles strong enough to support the body’s weight is the main goal in preventing back injury. A large but sometimes underused muscle mass are the abdominals. Weak stomach muscles can lead to slouching or swayback. In order to stand upright and keep the back in proper alignment, the muscles of the abdomen need to remain able to support a great deal of weight.
The abdominals consist of several muscle groups: the rectus and transversus abdominis (generally – muscles in the middle) and the internal and external obliques (generally – the side muscles). Keeping these strong can help to lift the trunk upward while both sitting and standing.
Crunches are the oatmeal of the abdominal strengthening breakfast. They are a mainstay. It is one of the best exercises to target the middle to lower abdominal muscles. If crunches are done with a full regimen of core strengthening exercises, back pain could possibly be a thing of the past.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Tilt your pelvis slightly up so that you remove any hollow between your lower back and the floor. Put your hands on your knees or reach toward your knees. Engage your abdominal muscles and breathe. In a crunch you don’t lift your torso all the way off the ground. Keep your chin up and tension out of your neck. Imagine your lower back anchored to the ground. Slowly curl your chest up toward your knees trying to use your abdominals as much as possible and breathe out. Raise yourself up until your shoulders leave the floor entirely. Hold at the top for three seconds and then slowly lower yourself back down breathing in. Relax for several moments. Repeat this exercise 7-10 times. Try to build up to three sets and stop if there is ever any pain.