Most people who have experienced low back pain have been told, “strengthen your core!” However not all of us know exactly what that means. This leads to some low back pain sufferers performing multiple sit-ups and not seeing any meaningful difference in their pain, in some cases it is worse!
The first thing you have to know is that your core, is made up of much more than our “six pack,” the recutus abdominus. It is part of the core, but only the front. Think of your core as a box and the rectus muscle is the front. Your core also has sides (the oblique muscles and the TA), a back (a collection of muscles including your glutes, lats and erector muscles), a bottom (your pelvic floor muscles) and a top (your diaphragm).
With this knowledge, you now want to consider what the best exercises are to work these muscles while being kind to your sore back. Dr. Stuart McGill of Waterloo University has done the work for you! He is a leading expert in low back health and research. He has developed his Big Three exercises that work your whole core, while sparing unnecessary stress to your low back. For a great video explaining these three exercises by Stuart McGill himself, watch this McGill Big Three Video.
These exercises are not meant to be painful. If you experience pain, discomfort, or have any questions whatsoever, ask a health care professional. We will be glad to help!