What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. So, we’ve been talking a lot about mobility
lately, and this being a Washboard Wednesday, we’re going to talk about it again. But we’re going to identify two common problems
that a lot of people will get a lot of times when doing ab exercises and that is they’ll feel either tight or sore in their
hip flexors or they’ll get low back pain. And the common root cause of both of those
things is actually possibly your abs. You see, a lot of times people will look at
where the symptom is and treat the symptom, ie, they’ll stretch their hip flexors out
and say, ‘God, I’m not getting any better.’ Or, they’ll stretch their low back out and
say, ‘God, I’m not getting any better.’ But, if you want to train like an athlete, if you
want to look below the surface, as a Physical Therapist, that’s what I have to do in order to earn
a living, we’ve got to look a little bit deeper. We have to find what the root cause is, and
the abs can absolutely be the cause of both of those issues. And a matter of fact, they could be playing
a large part in creating a vicious cycle to make that problem even worse. So, how does
this all happen? Well, the first thing that we have to understand
is that our body really wants to create stability through our spine. Our spine is the most important
structure in our entire body. We know that injury to the spine can be debilitating.
So, if our body is out to protect the spine at all cost, it’s going to enlist stability
and the help of other muscles to do that. So, our abs and our core are one of the biggest
areas we have to be able to provide the stability that we need against potential harm to our
spine, but guess what? A lot of us don’t have really strong cores.
And if we don’t, we’ll start asking for help in other muscle groups, and that happens most
often in the hip flexors. The hip flexors because of their attachment
to the lumbar spine, they run all the way up through our body and attach to the lower
5 vertebrae of our spine. That will provide us with some stability from
the bottom up, and again, through the low back right to our lumbar spine. So we will get stability of our spine, but
not with the muscles that we’re looking for in the first place. So, what’s the solution
here? Again, stretching the hip flexors? No. Because
the hip flexors need to be strong and on call all day long because your abs aren’t’ doing
their own job. So, then people finally might get to the bottom
of it and they’re told to go train their abs. What’s the problem there? You start doing ab exercises that contribute
more to the problem because 90 percent of ab exercises especially if done improperly
are going to overwork the hip flexors. So, I wanted to put together for you here
some options that you might have especially if you’re dealing with low back pain or you’ve
got those hip flexors on fire all day long. Here’s some ab exercises that you’ll be able
to do that will take the hip flexors right out of it and allow you to actually strengthen
your abs without further making this problem worse. Alright. Take a look at these exercises. Alright, first up is the Janda Sit Up. Now
this is one that we’ve used before in some of our other videos, and this is really a
classic example of how we can try to turn the hip flexors off. We know that there’s something called reciprocal
inhibition that if you contract a muscle on one side of a joint, we can actually try to
turn off the muscle that’s on the opposite side of the joint. And the easiest example and way to show this
is through our bicep. If we contract our bicep, our tricep has to relax in order to allow
the movement of the joint in this direction. Same thing here. If we contracted our tricep,
we’d have to have our bicep relaxed to allow the movement in the opposite direction. Well, we know that the hip extensors, and
the gluts and the hamstrings are going to work together opposite what the hip flexors
are trying to do. So if you can position yourself like I’m doing
here with a band anchored around a post, and contract my hamstrings and gluts, right, a
little bit, now we’ve got active contraction of the muscles
on the opposite side of the hip flexors. That should turn the hip flexors off. Now we can start doing our crunches so we
actually target the abs without allowing the hip flexors to dominate. Next up, another one we’ve been covering a
lot here lately we call it Gymnast Abs. And you can see, you get yourself into a Roman
Chair set up here or a Captain’s Chair set up, and all you want to do is support the weight
of your body by getting your arms outstretched and locked out. It’s ok to lock out your elbows
here. We don’t want to be working the triceps. So
get your arms locked out. Use the stability of your shoulders and now all you’re going
to do is just simply lift the pelvis back into a posterior tilt. You’re not lifting up with your hip flexors.
You can see it better when you come around the side here. I’m not pulling my legs forward
at all. All I’m doing is trying to tilt my pelvis
into a posterior tilt and lift the tailbone up towards the ceiling. Very, very easy to do and of course, it’s
going to work our abs tremendously without having to incorporate our hip flexors. We’ve got three options here that you could
use with a band. All you’ve got to do is anchor it to something sturdy and do the first exercise
that I’m showing you here which is a Pallof Press. So now we’re stabilizing on one leg. Yes,
we’ve got this other leg isometrically holding the hip flexor up, but we’re not doing any
real dynamic work there. We’re just holding it in position and the
real work is being done by the core to try to keep your body upright and stable as I
press the band up overhead. Again, not actively involving the hip flexors
in the movement just for the positioning here of the exercise. We can move and become a little bit more dynamic
by doing the Sledge Hammer Swings. Now we’re trying to actively twist and turn our torso
in the opposite direction of the band. Obviously, step out further and you get more
resistance, we’re going to work our abs here. You guys know how much abs are in control
of rotation, but our feet are planted firmly on the ground. There’s no active contribution here of the
hip flexors, at least dynamically. Again, stabilizing from below but not dynamically
working as they do in some other exercises. Finally we move on here to the Jump Out variation
of this which is just a little bit more dynamic and explosive, and the same thing applies. You’re going to keep our hands out in front
of your body. You’re working on the anti-rotation ability of our core, You’re going to jump out, try to stick that
landing without allowing the band to pull you back. Yes, you’re going to allow it to
go back. It’s going to want to pull back because it’s
eccentrically working our abs, but again, you’re keeping the hip flexors out of it. And next we have an exercise that a lot of
people don’t associate necessarily with a core exercise, but it absolutely is. Yeah,
it’s going to work your forearm and grip strength too, which is a bonus. But the thing here that we’re really trying
to focus on is controlling the stability of your core. Remember, it’s all about stabilizing
your spine. There’s nothing better here than a Suitcase Carry. Here I’ve got a hundred pound dumbbell on
my hand and I’m trying to walk with as straight of shoulders as I possibly can do. So I’m trying to walk here towards the camera
and then again away from you. The goal here is to try to keep my shoulders level. I’ve got a hundred pounds weighing me down
on one side. It becomes a bit of a challenge, but the only thing we’ve got that will help
us will be our spinal erectors and our core in front, our abs in front, and trying to pull us upright
and maintain that upright position. Obviously, the heavier weight you use here, the more
of a challenge. And finally we have a Side Plank Leg Lift.
Once again, we’re not involving the hip flexors here in the sagittal plane. We’re working a frontal plane motion here
that allows us to get our stabilizers working tremendously, hitting them from a different
angle. And now we get into a Side Plank. That could
be enough for most of you. But if you want to really add a challenge, try to lift your
leg up here as you’re seeing me do. That will actually make it much harder for
me because now I’m not getting the ability to push through into the floor with two feet
and two legs, but really just with that bottom leg which
makes it all that much more demanding for that lateral pillar strength on that bottom
side. So there you have it guys. There are some
ways for you to start training your abs especially if you’re somebody that’s suffering from some
of this low back pain when you’re doing your ab workouts,
or you’re just feeling real tightness through your low back every time you try to do more
traditional ab exercises. And again, I think it underscores a very important
point when it comes to mobility. Don’t just listen to what people say, ‘Oh my hip flexor’s
tight.’ ‘Stretch it.’ No. That’s not what you have to do. You’ve got to look a little bit deeper. Maybe
you have to start looking at muscles that are weak and that those other muscles are
kicking in and doing their job for them. So there’s not just a one common answer for
every single thing when it comes to mobility. You’ve got to be a little bit more specific
about that. Hopefully through these videos, you’re starting
to see that. If you guys want to start training with a system that uncovers and peels back
some of the layers, we don’t just go over the surface stuff to
give you everything else that everybody else has already given you. We try to help you train a little bit more
scientifically but at the same time, a lot more productively. That’s what ATHLEANX is
all about. +
If you’re looking for that training program that will do that, head to ATHLEANX.COM right
now and get our ATHLEANX Training System. If you found this video helpful, if you like
these Washboard Wednesday videos, make sure you leave a comment and a thumb’s up below And let me know what type of video you want
to see, and what other questions you might have,
and I’ll make sure I cover it here in another future Washboard Wednesday video. See you guys back here soon.

100 thoughts on “7 Core Exercises for Low Back Pain (IMPORTANT!)”

  1. Other physical therapists have told me that sit ups (3:15) and crunches are destructive to the spine. So, which is true? Who do I believe?

  2. I am totally puzzled by the recommendation of suitcase carries. How could this possibly be recommended by a physical therapist? Look at any safe carrying practice and this flies in the face of it.

  3. Can't believe I didn't see this earlier. You are a life saver and this has helped my back recover from two high speed car crashes. Also you look like a Greek god

  4. Dude all your videos explain so much shit i been curious about. You've got to be one or if not the only useful and actually helpful person on YouTube.

  5. That's why I said, "How would you do that, anyway". I was just acknowledging that I hadn't really thought about what "stretching the hip" meant. However, now that I'm more aware of the issues involved>>>tinyurl.com/yxtpm5o8 the next time I see the word "hip" I'll stop to consider the context before deciding what the writer was referring to. I'll never use that word for any part of the leg; except as in "broken hip," but I'll now be careful to remember the distinction between "hip flexors" and "hip

  6. Great video, but a bit disappointing how you dont go in depth on how to do the exercise correctly you dont show your foot and body positioning on half of the workout and would like to see a couple repetitive reps so its easily to understand

  7. for the last week ive been working towards correcting my anterior pelvic tilt. Its got to the point that i have severe back pain while dead-lifting or back squatting.
    For my core ive been doing hammer twists, RKC planks, suitcase carries and yoke walks.
    I've also been doing single leg glute bridges, GHR's, and what i call dumbbell cheat dead-lifts. basically a dumbbell dead-lift in a RDL style but i only drop to just below my knees focusing on my ham and glute activation. I've also been doing front squat variations incorporating tempo and pause reps. All this on top of my stretching of my hip flexors (which are extremely tight) by doing rectus femoris stretching as well as lunge stretching.

  8. Thank you so much for all your hard work and for sharing it! ?? ? ?
    I just watched your video on Anterior Pelvic Tilt, and it brought me here. I am about to start these exercise to fix my lower back pains, but i’m unsure how i should start out. How many sets and repetitions would be recommended for someone “new”?

  9. Does anyone know how many reps or for how long to do each exercise if we wanted to put these 7 into a workout?

  10. I have anterior pelvic tilt and L4 L5 disc hernia. What should I concentrate on first?
    Fixing the posture first or dealing with low back pain?

  11. Thanks for this. Very helpful. Could you please do a similar one for the glutes?..and knee pain. Also some advice on how to tone/lift the glute ham tie area would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  12. Thankyou for these vids, I've been struggling with lower back pain for far to long. Fingers crossed this helps ??

  13. Would be nice to have a link to the individual ab excersices he references to learn the details of each exercise

  14. …you're videos are changing my life slowly but surely. I am 26 and have a herniated disc in lower lumbar right above my sacrum bulging disc in. Neck near skull, torn meniscus in knees and ganglion cywt in wrist..been watching lots of your videos and trying everything. They are starting to help. Thank you.

  15. Old video so I hope someone can see my comment and give me some feedback. Would it be okay to do these excerises with a ab belt/back brace on semi tight or would the belt actually work against the workouts? Ab workouts always hurt my lower back, even doing them correctly as shown in your videos. I have pelvic tilt and I definitely plan to try out everything in this video to try to strengthen my abs and hopefully correct this annoying pelvic tilt. I'm also doing stretches with a band you showed in another video to help the shoulders align properly instead of being tilted forward (nerd neck, nerd shoulders)

  16. Jeff, I’ve seen a lot of videos on running technique, particularly about which part of the foot should hit the ground first. Could you do a video on the best way to run?

  17. Hey Jeff, I have a question. I've been following your channel for a while now. I've bought a year ago Arnold's bodybuilding book and I've been training with one of his training programs. I must say, my strength and mass grew exponentially. Still, I had rotator cuffs problems (I even didn't know what the hell rotator cuffs were) that your exercises and stretching almost completely fixed in three days (the change in pain level was so extreme I myself can't believe it). Now it turns out my wobbly legs when I squat, the knee pain and other nice things are because I have crappy glutes and bad hip flexors.

    I've checked your site out and I'm very interested in your training programs – it's just that, considering how many problems I have, I'm wondering if every training is built in a way that I'll end up fixing these problems or if I should pick something specific. I understand you have thousands of comments everyday, so if someone who know the answer could help it'd be amazing!

  18. 1. 3:15 Janda Sit-Up

    2. 3:45 Gymnast Abs

    3. 4:26 Rubber/Resistance Band 1

    4. 4:56 Rubber/Resistance Band 2

    5. 5:22 Rubber/Resistance Band 3

    6. 6:00 Suitcase Carry

    7. 6:29 Side Plank Leg Lift

  19. Had back trouble for years, herniated discs, a lifetime of combat sport and a physical job, always searching for ways to train to improve, Jeff makes a lot of sense. Great video, sound advice!

  20. Does anybody know where I could buy this type of resistance band or a link? I would greatly appreciate it!

  21. I believe I’ve found at least a few core exercises I can do to improve core strength and hopefully reduce my lower back pain. My lower back issues have kept me from being successful in becoming more fit and losing weight/body fat. Thank you, Jeff, for providing this information that even my personal physician and chiropractor didn’t provide.

  22. For years the Army PTs have told me to plank etc to help my lower back injuries from IED blasts and humping mountains on deployment.  I started following your channel and taking your advice which is for the most part contrary to what the PTs I have been seeing tell me and for the first time in years my back is feeling better, my posture has improved and I have gotten significantly stronger.  Thank you for your free advice.  You have really helped me save my career.

  23. Jeff, you are amazing. I always suffered from lower back pain while doing exercises. I tried some of the exercises in this video. No back pain and my abs burned like hell. Never actually felt this ever. Thanks man!

  24. Advice
    Dont talk too much
    Thats the reason i watch other guys showing more instead to talk nonstop
    And your byzeps big ( naturel?…:)

  25. These are great but how about a video showing what can be done at home without equipment or anything to secure a resistance band onto. The last one is ideal but are there any more?

  26. You describe my symptoms and I dig the logic of your explanations and approach. Gonna give this a shot. Thanks for being here.

  27. Thank you so much for this informative video. The looking beyond surface analyzing techniques really impress me.

  28. So with the modified sprinters lunge on one side I can sit nice in my butt but on the other side I can't because my back quadricep is crazy tight

  29. I was about to comment on a new video asking for low back friendly abs, but luckily you already had made this video.

  30. Can you make another video like this but with exercises that you could do at home without any equipment? I'll try doing more side planks, thank you.

  31. Second time this year I’ve found a video on Jeff’s channel targeting the exact issue I’ve been facing in my development

  32. Hey Jeff,

    What resistance bands are you using/do you recommend? I really want to go try all these exercises. Thank you!


    Everything I’ve watched of yours holds unbelievable insight! Thanks a ton!!

  33. por cuanto tiempo hay que hacer estos ejercicios?? y después de hacerlos puedo volver a incluir los flexores a mis ejercicios???

  34. Hello Dear Jeff…. i am from India… i used to play football but i got an injury and and orthopedics told me that i have huglund deformity in my left leg… i don't know how it started… my leg was totally fine few years back… i am unable to play…i cant run due to pain in calcaneous region… Can you please suggest some exercise which can strengthen that area so that atleast I can play football once in a week…!!! MY mail id is [email protected] if you wish to advise me through email… please help…!!!

  35. Best video for people that have lowback problems like me. Thanks for your wonderful work. Best youtube workout channel.

  36. Ok i did most of these yesterday at the gym minus the rubber band ones as they don't have that there (tried it with the fly cables but did not feel right even though it was level with my shoulders). Even though I have good triceps I found it incredibly hard not to shake when doing the pelvic lift on the tricep bar (was not dipping with my arms but focusing on the hip movement but only managed 2 sets).
    Anyway I did all the rest and BOY im feeling it today….OWWWWWWWW lol. Never felt my lower back muscles got a workout before.

    As a side note I also did the side plank and tried the leg lift but I can't do that as it feels like I have too much pressure on my knees. I have grade 4 Osteoarthritis in both my knees but just holding the plank I could REALLY feel my sides .

    Thank you Jeff for sharing with us your free time and knowledge. Appreciate it IMMENSELY!

  37. Request for where to start after recovery from orif tibia surgery-I’m starting with the Fix This videos, hoping to gain enough stability to do athleanX workout program

  38. Anyone have resistance bands that they would recommend for these exercises? An amazon link would be appreciated thanks

  39. Hey Jeff,
    I thought I had a hernia, turns out I have “diastasis recti.” My doctor said I needed to do more exercises that focus on the rectus abdominus.
    However, I’m finding that my hip flexors get sore from just about every exercise my doctor recommended, and I am not seeing much improvement.
    My cousin is a PT, he thinks my problem is my abdominal breathing. When I ride my bike, I breathe mainly with my diaphragm, which makes me look like I have a distended belly.
    Also, my PT cousin keeps telling me that “diastasis recti” is only a problem pregnant women have, and that the bulge pushing through my abs when I lift heavy weights is just “cosmetic” and won’t cause any problems down the road.
    My doctor on the other hand, wants to do surgery and put in a mesh implant. I’m not about to have surgery for something that seems like it’s correctable through PT. But my cousin, the PT, is not exactly instilling much confidence… I mean, he doesn’t even think it’s a problem.
    Also, my doctor told me to avoid doing any core exercises that involve twisting.
    Anyway, right now, side planks are about the only exercise I feel are doing anything corrective.
    I am going to go try the first exercise you mentioned, the crunches with the band activating my glutes and hamstrings.
    I feel like I am not getting trustworthy answers from my doctor, his eyes do the loony tune dollar signs ?? every time he mentions surgery.
    Likewise, I feel like my PT cousin is telling me not to worry about it because he refuses to let me pay him for his time, but would be offended if I went somewhere else.
    I feel like there’s a fundamental problem with my weightlifting form. The “diastasis recti” happens with just about any exercise involving my core. Squats, deadlifts, rows…I do have an anterior tilt on my pelvis that I am trying to correct, feel like that might be part of it. I stopped riding my bike and switched to running, for the time being.
    I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on the subject? Mainly just looking for an opinion I feel like I can trust. Thanks for the videos, you have been the biggest help thus far!

  40. THUMBS UP!
    then watch!!!


    so, i'm half way thru the baby shark ab challenge. lower back and hip tightness from that. will finish doing my moderated attempts.

    will start doing 1 of these exercises per day for at least 5 minutes, TODAY, for the next 30 days!!! hopefully on day 31 my lower back/abs will be strong(er) …

  41. I did the exercise at 5:00 a couple of times but my lower back hurts nonetheless. After doing some research I guess it has something to do with the quadratus lumborum or the gluteus medius. But I don't know what to do right know in order to get rid of the pain and start doing the exercise again, without my backing hurting. Any suggestions?

  42. Hello Jeff. First of all I would like to say thanks for all these great videos and wish you good luck but to the point. I have a probably stupid question. I have seen a few videos on this subject but I am still not sure. How can I tell whether I am able to properly contract my abs? Once again, thank you for all your great videos.

  43. I have a 60% compression fracture at the top of my lumbar spine. For years I thought this injury was keeping me disabled. I started watching Jeff and Jesse, (awesome introductions Jesse) about 3 years ago. I started slow following their instructions and a major change in my life took place. So thanks so much for taking the time to do these videos and it's free. Lived on SS disability for years and now gratefully back to work loving my very physical new job. In training to be an Electrical lineman for the power company experiencing no pain 95% of the time. Big change thx.

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