Partial Sit Up
Partial sit ups are primarily recommended for patients with back pain, as the same muscle groups can be worked out without ever putting stress on their lower backs. You will start a partial sit up just like a regular sit up—with your back on the floor, both feet on the floor and your knees bent.
Afterwards, you will raise your head, neck and shoulders off of the floor and hold that position for five seconds. Not only will this exercise strengthen your core; it is also simple to do. And you can repeat it as many times as you’d like, with a goal of increasing your reps every day.
Knee to Chest
You will start this exercise the same way you begin a partial sit up. You will then draw one of your knees to your chest, using both hands (only one foot is now in the air), prior to holding to the count of 10 and then slowly releasing your knee to the rest position.
Do four to five repetitions and then repeat with your other leg—before you use both legs at the same time. Among other benefits, this exercise will stretch your glutes and your back.
Begin this exercise flat on your back with your arms extended out to the side. Then bend your knees and lift your feet off of the ground. Afterwards, you will need to rotate your hips to the side so that your legs become parallel with the floor. Rotate from side to side for five to 10 repetitions overall. As a core exercise, the hip roll will mainly strengthen your abdominal muscles.
Low Back Extension
Start by lying flat on your stomach with your hands to your side. You will then need to lift your head and upper body off of the ground by using the muscles in your lower back. Hold this position for four to five seconds and then lower yourself back down. Repeat this 10 to 15 times.
Position yourself on all fours with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips with your back straight. Use your abdominal muscles to push your back towards the ceiling, arching it like a cat. You should notice your head will point down towards the floor.
Next, drop your back so that your lower back extends. Your head should raise as you do this. Ensure your elbows remain straight the entire time, as the only movement should be in your spine. Repeat this 12 to 15 times.
This exercise is best performed with a stability ball. Lay with your stomach on the ball and your hands behind your head. Tighten your abdominal muscles and use your lower back muscles by contracting your glutes to lift your shoulders and chest off the ball.
Lie face down with your arms extended above your head. Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift your arms and legs off the ground. It should look like you are in a Superman-like flying position, so to speak. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and then release.
You may be tempted to hold your breath when clenching your abdominal muscles. NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH! Control your breathing, while holding this position, instead.
Double Leg Lifts
While using a stability ball, lie face down with your hands on the floor in front of the ball. Raise both of your legs off of the floor until your body is horizontal—and then hold the position for about 10 seconds. Lower your legs back down to the floor and repeat this movement five to10 times.
While seated in a chair, reach one arm across your stomach and grasp the opposite side of the chair. Look over your shoulder as you rotate your low- and mid-back. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
External Shoulder Rotation
Start this rotation by lying on your right side with your right arm folded under your head. Your upper left arm should be parallel to your torso and bent at the elbow so that your forearm is lying across your stomach with your hand on the floor.
While rotating your left shoulder, raise your forearm so that it is perpendicular to the side of your body. Afterwards, you should switch to your other side and repeat. This exercise can also be performed with a dumbbell.
Internal Shoulder Rotation
Lay on your right side, as you do during the external shoulder rotation, but keep your right hand free this time. Ensure your right arm is next to your body and bent at the elbow. Rotate your shoulder to move your forearm. It will start flat on the floor, prior to rotating it into your body so that your forearm is flat across your stomach. Repeat this motion 10 to 15 times and use a dumbbell if you prefer.
Lateral Deltoid Raise
Start with your arms to the side of your body with your palms facing your thighs. Tighten your abdominals, bend your knees slightly and position your feet about shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms straight out to your side until they are shoulder height. Hold that position briefly and then slowly return your arms to your sides.
Front Deltoid Raise
Start with your arms in front of your body and your palms facing your thighs. Tighten your abdominals, bend your knees slightly and position your feet about shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms straight out in front of you until they are shoulder height. Hold that position briefly, prior to slowly lowering your arms.
Single-Arm Lat Pulldown
Begin with both of your hands overhead holding an elastic resistance band. Engage your abdominals, bend your knees slightly and position your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Pull downward to the side with one arm, adducting at the shoulder until your upper arm is next to your torso. Pause and then return slowly to the starting position. As you do, make sure you keep your arms slightly in front of your face to protect your back and shoulders.
Stability Ball Push-Ups
Start with the ball under your stomach and your hands on the floor in front of you. Roll forward slowly until your shins are balancing on the stability ball. Now perform pushups as your normally would by bending at your elbow.
Side Lumbar Bridge
Lie on one side with your legs straight. Support your upper body by keeping your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Being careful not to let your top hip rotate forward, engage your abdominals and use your torso to lift your hips. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, while maintaining a neutral neck and spine position.
Single-Leg Reverse Curl
Lie on your back with one knee flexed and your foot flat on the floor, while your other leg is straight out and slightly raised off the ground. Extend your arms flat along your body and maintain a neutral alignment in your cervical spine.
Lift your working knee and leg in an upward, diagonal direction over your belly button. Pause and then slowly lower your leg to the starting position. Repeat with your other leg afterwards.
Crunch w/ Stability Ball
Lay down with your back on the stability ball and your hands behind your head or folded across your chest. Maintain a backwards-pelvic tilt and raise your shoulder blades off the ball, prior to return to the starting position and repeating the exercise yet again.
Stand, face the wall and hold the stability ball at forehead height. Use your neck muscles to push your forehead into the stability ball. Relax and repeat this motion.
Stand up, face away from the wall and hold the stability ball behind your head, prior to pushing the back of your head into the ball.
Stand sideways to the wall. Hold the stability ball above your shoulder at the side of your head, which you will then push laterally into the ball.
- Bring your ear to your shoulder.
- Let your neck sit in that position for five to seven seconds.
- Force your ear toward your shoulder.
- Feel the stretch of your neck muscle on the opposite side.
Same principle as the exercise before:
- Bring your head back as if you are looking toward the ceiling.
- Feel the stretch in your muscles, located on the front part of your neck.
If this exercise causes dizziness, fainting or a loss of balance, STOP AND CONTACT YOUR PHYSICIAN.
- Rotate your head toward your right or left shoulder.
- Nod your head down; afterwards, you will feel a stretch on the opposite side of which you are looking. Just hold for a few seconds and repeat.
Neck exercises for strength:
- Put your hand on your forehead and force your forehead against your hand to provide resistance. You can do this in several sets of six, eight or 10 repetitions.
- Place your hands on the back of your neck and force your head back, while also providing resistance with your hands.
By doing these exercises in several sets of six, eight or 10 rotations a day, you will be surprised by the ways in which your flexibility returns in a couple months.