exercising core muscles with restricted movement

When you have severe limitations in back movement because of pain or surgery, maintaining or improving core strength can be a challenge. It is a challenge, however, worth conquering because core strength is important for overall body strength. While dynamic exercises for the back and for the stomach may be all but impossible, you can always opt for isometric exercise.

What is the difference between dynamic and isometric exercise? Dynamic exercise involves using a muscle or group of muscles through a range of motion; it results in visible movement. Examples include kicking a straight leg or lifting the knee upward from a standing position and extending an arm to the side or front and raising it above the head. Isometric exercise involves contracting and releasing a muscle or group of muscles without resulting in visible movement. Examples include squeezing a ball with your hand, tightening the muscles in your thigh and doing the Kegel (contracting the muscles in the pelvic floor).

Starting with some basics for the core muscles, here is my plan. This plan is intentionally gentle to avoid causing muscle spasms. It is highly advisable to avoid muscle spasms because limited back movement will not allow stretching to resolve a spasm in the back or abdomen. For example, flexing the trunk forward stretches the back, and extending the trunk backward stretches the abdominal area; these are NOT options when your back movement does not allow flexion or extension.

remember to start with your favorite music
work up to
3 sets of 6 contractions of each muscle groups
relax between muscle groups, or spread the workout throughout the day
exhale as you contract and inhale as you release

upper abdomen
lower abdomen
upper back: squeeze shoulder blades toward spine
middle back: press shoulder blades down

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