Exercise your abs without back pain.
If you dread crunches and situps due to the strain placed on your back, there are strain-free alternatives for a sculpted midsection. Rounding of the spine is often the trigger to back strain, but these exercises allow the spine to remain straight during the entire exercise. Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have a pre-existing spinal cord injury or condition.
Stand Up for Great Abs
This is a simple exercise that works your abdominal muscles without straining your neck and back. Start by standing tall with your feet a couple inches apart and your knees slightly bent. Contract your abdominal muscles and pull your shoulders back and down to help support your spine. Using slow and controlled motions, raise your right leg about 5 inches off the floor and hold this position for 15 seconds and then switch legs. Perform the exercise near a wall just in case you start losing your balance. You can increase the intensity of the exercise by raising your leg higher off the floor.
March for Tight Abs
Start this exercise by lying flat on your back while keeping your neck neutral with your spine and placing a rolled towel under the small of your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor so your heels are about 6 inches from your buttocks. Keeping your back straight, contract your abdominal muscles as you slowly lift your left foot off the ground until your thigh is vertical with the floor and your calves are parallel to the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted as you hold this position for 10 seconds, then return your foot slowly to the floor and complete the same steps with the opposite leg. Repeat three times on each leg.
Suck It In
The abdominal vacuum is the simplest of all abdominal exercises and can be done in your car, lying in bed, at the grocery checkout lane or taking a shower. To perform this exercise, keep your spine straight and pull your shoulders back and down. Inhale deeply as you suck in your stomach moving your belly button toward your spine. Exhale as you keep your belly sucked in and then take another deep breath as you try to move your belly button even closer to your spine. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted as you breathe normally and hold this position until the abdominals feel fatigued.
Tilt the Pelvis
Pelvic tilts focus on tightening your lower abdominal muscles. Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart with your feet flat on the ground. Contract your abdominal muscles and pull your belly button toward your spine and your lower back toward the floor. Your lower back should press against the floor without assistance from your buttocks or leg muscles. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat for 10 repetitions.