Exercise! - Back vs. Abs battle

View Full Version : Back vs. Abs battle

08-03-2005, 10:57 PM
I'm sure other people have this problem as well, so I figured someone might have suggestions...

How on earth do you work on strengthening your abs without overworking your back/shoulders????? :dizzy:

I have never been able to figure this one out. I also have hypermobility in my back but there's gotta be some way!

Obviously I am not looking for a sixpack here but just some strengthening of my core that will help with all my other movements and just daily life. But nothing seems to work...

I can't do crunches or pilates moves without ending up relying on my back/ shoulder muscles. Even when I really concentrate super hard I can only do about 3 reps without resorting to back and shoulders again. It's so frustrating! :mad:

I have a few moves I was taught by a physical therapist to do just small isometric contractions of the abs but I don't feel they are especially strengthening. I am going to be working with a new PT soon (I hope, if my insurance cooperates) and I hope to work with a trainer in the near future... in the meantime...

does anyone have any suggestions???

08-04-2005, 10:03 AM
I think your physical therapist along with a good PT and your doctor are your best source of help for your specific back problem...

08-05-2005, 10:33 PM
I guess I was looking more for general advice because I've heard other people complain about the strain on the back when trying to strengthen abs so I thought maybe someone knows some trick that could help. :D

08-05-2005, 11:38 PM
I also have hypermobility in my back but there's gotta be some way!

This statement is what made me think that you may have specific back problems and that you should get some professional help.

Here is what I experienced when I first started working abs; yes I did get sore back, neck and shoulders because when I was doing crunches with my hands behind my neck I was pulling my head forward. I later found out that you just put your hands on the side of your ears and DON'T pull on your head. Is this what you are doing?

You should also work all angles of your abs by doing, crunches, leg raises, reverse crunches, the plank. There is also nothing wrong with doing on 3 reps to start in each exercise, practice makes perfect... Are you working your back muscles too, specially lower back . If you have a strong lower back this will help the ab workouts and vise versa.

Hope this helps...

08-05-2005, 11:46 PM

Sorry, I didn't mean to be misleading. It just means that I'm too flexible in the spine (like being double jointed kindof).

I'm not pulling on my head (although I used to!) but with more reps my form gets sloppy.

I think I just get frustrated at not being able to do more without relying on my back, which is stronger so I tend to overrely on those muscles, but you're right, I probably just need to keep doing it even if it means I can only do 3 reps at a time. I haven't been working all the different angles either so that might help. Reading your post made me think that maybe I'm rushing things a bit too much for my fitness level! LOL

Thanks for the input!

08-05-2005, 11:52 PM
Glad I could be of help in some way :D

08-06-2005, 09:21 AM
I was thinking - do you do all of your abs work lying on the floor? I did the Billy Blanks Bootcamp Abs Workout tape a couple of days ago, and a big part of that tape has you doing crunches while standing up. That might be easier on your back. Also you could look into Pilates-moves that contract the abs while standing up. I would think that that helps you concentrate on your abs and not putting too much pressure on your back when you don't have to pull yourself off the floor.

Like i said - just a thought, but it might be worth looking at!

08-06-2005, 09:36 AM
My husband is a massage therapist and worked in a physical therapy rehab for a number of years. I recently purchased the exercise ball and he said that they had a number of clients that used it who had dislocated discs or recent back surgery. He said that some of them even took the ball to work and used it as a chair instead!! I must admit, I'm hooked on it..I got mine at Wal-Mart for $16.

08-06-2005, 01:47 PM
Anine: I guess I didn't even know you could do ab work standing up but that's a great suggestion. Thanks! I'll have to try that and see if it helps!

hollybelle: I have a stability ball but quite honestly I don't usually know what to do with it! LOL Most of the exercises I've found are way too advanced for me but those I have been able to do seem to help. Thanks for the tip!