This exercise offers several benefits:
1) Strengthen core, firming and defining abdominals, provide support for spine.
2) Opens the back, especially the lower back which is necessary to reverse the daily load we place on this work horse.
Please note: If you are just starting on an exercise program consult with a certified physical trainer or your physician before starting.
As an acupuncturists, I see a lot of patients who have some complaint in their lower body. As part of my assessment, I always check their lower back.
The lower back, in many cases, is the source of, for example, knee, ankle and foot pain. It can also contribute to digestion problems, urinary, bowel and sexual performance issues.
In terms of a detox routine, exercising the abdomen and opening the lower back will improve gut performance and therefore have positive effects on digestion, bowel, urinary and immune systems.
A lower back exercise should be incorporated with other strengthening and flexibility exercises, an aerobic routine, a healthy diet and lifestyle enhancements for best results.
Being overweight or obese just in terms of your lumbar can be thought of like this: Losing 8 pounds of weight is like losing a gallon of water that your lower back needs to haul around on a daily basis. 24 pounds = 3 gallons, 48 pound = 6 gallons. More than 50 pounds is like half a tank of gas is many cars.
The “distribution box” used to control lower abdominal and lower body functions is located in the lumbar region. Therefore, pinching off or or two or more of the signals due to muscle tightness, inflammation, misalignments, or complications due to the obstruction of blood flow to your core and lower back is often a cause for problems you may be experiencing.
Everything we do to improve the flow of energies through and across our core area will improve health and performance.
To do this exercise, it’s idea to be part of a daily routine, but a few days a week is also fine.
I’d say, start with a routine that you will stick with.
The easiest is to raise your knees as up to 90 degrees and repeat 10 times. When this becomes comfortable, you can either do two sets and/or increase the height you raise your knees.
When you get more advanced, you can add in leg lifts and work your way to two to three sets per day. Do as many reps up to 10 as you can. If you can only to 5, for example, do 3 sets of 5.
It’s important to raise quickly and lower slowly. Raising quickly is effective in unloading the lumbar and lowering slowly will tone abdominal muscle and keep you from swinging on the bar. You want to minimize the amount of body swing by lowering slowly.
If your upper body strength doesn’t allow you to hang off the bar, you can put a chair or bench underneath you so that you are resting when your legs are in the lowered position. Another alternative is a special arm cradle to hang off a pull up bar to take most of the strain off you arms (consult with a trainer for this option).
For more advanced training or therapy, you can try a couple of pounds of ankle weights.
What I do, as part of a quick routine where I do pull-ups, pushups, rows and back extensions, is I finish it off with 10 legs lifts immediately followed by 10 knee raises for a mildly intense workout.
To your better health!
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