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STABILIZE YOUR SPINE WITH LOW PRESSURE FITNESS

Eight out of ten people suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is one of the main causes of seeking medical advice, But, did you know that exercise is the therapy that has shown the most evidence in treating lower back pain?

 

There are a variety of exercises which can be grouped under the label of core stability or core training. Core stability training refers to the strengthening of the trunk muscles which help to stabilize the spine. These muscles, responsible for spine stabilization, are divided into two main groups: global and local stabilization muscles.

 

  • The global and superficial stabilization system generates the major torques of movement involving the spinal erectors, the quadratus lumborum and the rectus abdominis muscles.
  • The local and deep stabilization system is responsible for providing a rigid base for movement and posture. This system includes the pelvic floor, the multifidus and the transverse abdominal muscles.

 

Different studies on exercises for core stability training have shown positive results in the areas of prevention and of treatment of lower back pain. Today, these exercise techniques have become an essential part of all rehab programs carried out in gyms, sports centers, hospitals and clinical practices.

 

One of the principal goals of core training is to locate and maintain a neutral spine position across exercises which will favor muscle co-activation and central muscular stability within the natural physiological limits of each person. Progressive and regular core training will improve motor control and patterns of muscular recruitment. Core stabilization exercises designed to reduce lumbar back pain may also aim increase spinal strength and rigidity.

 

In the initial phase of core training the main goal is to activate the local and deep stabilization system. Attention is focused on activating the muscles while keeping the back in a neutral position which will help in keeping postural balance. The most suitable positions at this early stage are lying, sitting and on all-fours. Two of the best beginner exercises are the bridge and all-fours.

 

Low Pressure Fitness training system has adapted these basic core stability positions and their corresponding transitions from the most basic level to the most advanced, and given them the names of Aphrodite and Gaia.

 

Learn Aphrodite and Gaia

The key aspects of  Aphrodite as Gaia are awareness of spinal elongation and the maintenance of spinal neutral position. In the learning phase of Aphrodite and Gaia, one of the most common mistakes is to perform a pelvic tilt as a reflex mechanism to protect your lumbar spine. That’s why it is essential to identify technical errors and to learn the exercises properly with a qualified LPF trainer.

 

APHRODITE

To perform Aphrodite in its basic level, lie down on your back with bent knees and ankles in dorsi-flexion. Stretch your arms with the palm facing upwards as shown in the picture. Your arms should be pressing slightly the floor and you should be trying to lengthen and stretch your arms by increasing the space between your chest and shoulders. From this position, lift your hips to draw a perfect straight line between your knees, pelvis and chest. You should hold this pose during three respiratory cycles. During the third exhalation, slowly bring your hips down and lower your back to the floor.

 

 

afrodita-lpf

The next step in Aphrodite combines the upward pelvic movement with the breathing Low Pressure Fitness technique. After the third exhalation, hold your breath, slowly expand your ribcage, and open your chest while your hips rise slowly from the floor. Once you have your back, chest and knees in perfect alignment, breathe for three respiratory cycles. Lower your hips slowly during the third exhalation.

aphrodite-lpf

GAIA

Start off on an all-fours position as shown in the image. The ankles are in dorsi-flexion with your knees in line with your pelvis and your hands in line with your shoulders. For Low Pressure Fitness first level beginners, the first step should be to learn the correct spine alignment. Your spine should be perfectly aligned, parallel with the floor.

 

Gaia-lpf

One of the challenges in this position is to keep the pelvis neutral and your neck in line with your back. For beginners, it is common to see hyperextension in the neck or pelvic tilt. Hold the position during three complete respiratory cycles, in which you will lengthen the spine by pushing your head in the opposite direction of the sacrum.

gaia-lpf

If you can hold the position successfully for several repetitions you are ready to move on to the next level of Gaia which includes the specific breathing pattern from the Low Pressure Fitness program.

 

It is always advisable to consult with a specialist before starting any exercise program for lower back pain on your own. Qualified health and exercise professionals are your best guarantee of guidance. You can find a list of all our certified Low Pressure Fitness trainers in our online directory.

 

 

Author:
Tamara Rial, PhD

ABDOMINAL DIASTASIS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

We often hear mothers say that they have diastasis of the abdominal rectus or abdominal diastasis, which is the separation of the alba line of the famous six-pack. But, this doesn´t only occur in mothers during and after pregnancy, also to people who perform strenuous physical tasks as well as those who are overweight or obese.

  • What is diastasis of the rectus?

In the abdominal muscle group, we find a muscle known as the rectus abdominus. It is the muscle of the famous six-pack that is very appealing aesthetically and is well-defined in fitness enthusiasts and body-builders.

This muscle of the central part of the abdomen we can say is symmetrical from the middle point of the body and this middle point is connective tissue of the rectus, which is also known as the alba line. The line that splits the six-pack in the abdominal rectus.

This alba line is fibrous in texture and therefore cannot be stretched as with other structures. However, during pregnancy the abdominal girdle grows and the muscle stretches and separates to allow growth of the baby. In so doing, the fibrous membrane that joins the abdominal muscles is separated and thus there is a separation between the abdominal muscles, which turns this area into one at great risk of rupture.

  • What should you avoid if you have abdominal diastasis?

if you have abdominal diastasis or if you want to prevent it, you should avoid:

  Excessive weight gain, then this will help you to distend the connecting tissue of the abdominal muscle group.

–  Avoid wrong postures that will increase pressure in the stomach. A good body alignment will help the abdominal firm and without unnecessary pressure.

–  Avoid hyperpressive exercises or hyperpressure activities which are all those that increase pressure in the abdomen. Among this exercises we find: abdominals, sit-ups, planks, exercises requiring great strength like lifting heavy objects, running or jumping.

abdominal crunch

  • What can I do if I have abdominal diastasis?

If you have the slightest suspicion that you have diastasis of the abdominal rectus, consult with your health care provider.

A pelvic floor physiotherapist or a Low pressure fitness trainer can help you in this direction, both for the diagnosis as for the prescription of the best rehabilitation or preventive therapy. As much as if it is an anatomical diastasis as a functional one, it is recommended to perform physical therapy to improve the structures and to prevent future hernias. When the abdominal diastasis is very large, for example more than 4 cm, some individuals may need surgery. In my opinion, aside from the surgical option, planning to carry out a program based on exercise is the best preventive medicine.

Low Pressure Fitness, is an excellent tool for rehabilitate the abdominal structures. The strong myofascial traction that is generated during the exercises, the pelvic decongestion, the increase of abdominal tone and the decrease of intraabdominal pressure are some of the effects it will give to the abdominal wall. There are more and more cases of women in post-natal condition as well as athletic women who have submitted their abdominal girdle to excessive hyperpressive efforts that obtained stunning results with LPF exercises.