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No crunch core exercises – lumbar spine stabilization (5 Minute Low Impact #2)

No crunch core exercises that will stabilize your spine, pelvis area. Alleviate hip and lower back pain with these lower impact core exercises

You probably have been told many times over that strengthening your core will help you alleviate hip and back pain.  While the root cause of back pain, may not be entirely due to a weak core, it’s always a good idea to work on strengthening it every day considering the important role it plays in helping you avoid injury, and move properly.

The core consists of an inner, and an outer unit. These units are always working together to enable us to accomplish from simple daily tasks to more advanced athletic performance.

The inner core is the spine “Safety belt”. It stabilizes your spine, pelvis, and hip joints.
The inner core muscles that are responsible to provide spine stability are:

  • Transverse abdominis: a deep abdominal muscle that acts as a belt around your waist, protecting your spine.   Picking an item off the floor without properly activating this muscle, will overload the lower back and pelvis which can lead to injury.
  • Other important stabilizers connected to the pelvis: i.e. multifidus.

Our goal is to strengthen these deep core muscle so that they are instantly activated every time we want to perform a task.

The outer core consists of primer movers: the visible abs, the obliques, the rectus abdominis, the shoulder girdle, and the rest of your body.  As you can tell, the core is not just the visible abs we see, but an integration of many systems.

We often over-train the visible primer muscles to achieve that “aesthetic look”, and ignore the deep abdominal muscles that are super important in maintaining a healthy functional body. One that is composed of “intelligent” aesthetic muscles, and a strong foundation.

PS: if you have no clue how to strengthen these deep core muscles. Check out my deep core mini-training. In 20 minutes you’ll have all the info you need with exercises to activate these muscles (with a weekly exercise planner).

In general, deep abdominal exercises look easy; but believe me, they are very challenging.  You may not feel the “burn” that you get when you do 50 crunches, but you will notice how challenging it is for your body to do them properly. Because, we are not used to using the deeper core muscles, the back and hip flexors have a tendency to compensate for a week inner core.

This is why I advise you to always keep your back GLUED to the floor when you are doing any inner core exercises on your back.

How to work your deep core with back pain

Many (traditional) core exercises are too focused on spinal flexion (i.e. sit-ups, crunches). These exercises may be good to add more definition to the visible abs, but they offer no benefits to someone who is more interested in developing a strong functional core. So (Ahem) you do want to avoid them as much as you can.

Moreover, if you are suffering from any pain injury (disc related), you want to avoid any exercises that may contribute to more damage.  For example, if you have an anterior disc herniation (the front side of the intervertebral disc, towards the body), you may notice pain when you do hyperextension exercises.  Likewise, if you have a posterior disc herniation (towards the back of the body), you’d experience pain when bending over, and doing the typical abs flexion exercises

To keep things balanced, I like to simply avoid all exercises that promote flexion: CRUNCHES (this is why I’m introducing you to some pretty cool no crunch core exercises today).

I also keep the hyperextension exercises to a minimum, but I still perform few lower impact movements such as swimmers, supermans and cobra pose; since we spend a big part of our days hunched over, and exercises like the cobra can help restore the posture.

Checkout these no crunch, deep abdominal core exercises! #fitness #workouts #backpainClick To Tweet

PS: want more like this workout, check out back pain bootcamp! Workout with me for 6 weeks!

No crunch core exercises

In this video, I’ll be introducing you to some of my favorite inner core exercises.  Again, none of these exercises include crunches.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you try them.

  • Keep your back glued to your mat when you are on your back. If you arch your back, that means you are starting to compensate, and using your low back instead of your core.  You should take a break, breathe and try to do it again with proper form.
  • You can start with 10-15 repetitions for each exercise, and as you gain more strength, bump those reps up to 15, or do 2 sets of 10-15 reps.
  • Take from 30-60 seconds break between each exercise. Our goal is to strengthen our inner goal, not to build abs. (for now!)

No crunch core exercises:

  • Single-leg extensions.
  • Dynamic toe-taps.
  • Plank knee to elbow (advanced).
  • Double leg lower and lift (very important to have your back touching the floor all the time. Take as much rest as you want, but make sure you are performing each repetition properly).
  • Bird dog: Make sure you are not rotating your hips.
  • Plank shoulder taps (Focus on maintaining a solid plank position without dropping your hips or lifting your glutes up).
  • Plank knee taps

I hope you give this workout a try! if you are looking for a low impact strengthening workout plan that takes care of not only building your strength, but also building a strong core foundation, checkout the back pain Bootcamp!

Also, I always love hearing back from you. If there is anything you want to see on the blog, leave me a comment below!

Video showing amazing No crunch core exercises that will target your inner deep abdominal muscles that needs strengthening to alleviate lower back pain, and pelvis instability. Your inner core is the spine safety belt and without it, we won't be able to accomplish simple tasks like lifting something off the floor. You can do these exercises at home, anywhere and strengthen your core muscles.
Topics: Lower back pain| pelvis instability| sciatica| disc herniation exercises


  • Reply
    August 22, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Great video! I’m still dealing with pain in my piriformis muscle and thinking my core def needs to be worked on…I walk 3 to 5 times a week doing around 3-5 miles and feel good about that…what do you think about exercise balls? Do you use them?

    • Reply
      Coach Sofia
      August 22, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Heather!
      Yess, I’ve been doing these exercises almost everyday (especially the first 3 ones) and I always feel so much better in my pelvic area. I love how low impact they are and how much they target the inner core and stabilize my hips. When we do these with proper form (back glued to floor), we truly feel the core working. I do use the exercise balls for variety of things (back hyper extensions, Abs exercises, and hamstring/glute work such as hamstring curls, glute bridges on the ball and reverse planks with my feet elevated on ball). The reason why I haven’t introduced them yet is because it can be super easy to do them with bad form (especially if one hasn’t worked on his core strength yet) since the exercise balls can be quite challenging. I wanted to first put together core strengthening workouts that will help gain that prerequisite core strength and balance needed to move to the stability balls (especially for people dealing with back pain). Thanks for mentioning them 🙂 I will be putting together a beginner version of a stability core workout very soon! <3

  • Reply
    Tam Ring
    August 27, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Wow just done your workout and I feel so good already. I can’t wait to start doing this on a daily basis. I have suffered with bulging disc pain, degenerated disc disease and arthritis for 20+ years. Being very weak in the core definitely contributes to the pain I have in my back, hips and legs. Thank you so much for you easy to follow video, I just love it!!
    Love Tam

    • Reply
      Coach Sofia
      August 27, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Tam!
      Thanks a lot for your feedback! I’m soo glad to hear that 🙂 I will be posting more like these because they are super effective in stabilizing your hips and spine. Movement of the hip area is vital to help with arthritis inflammation.
      Stay Strong!

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