Unlike the “back breakers” Dr. Rob’s “core/back builders” follow a couple of very simple rules that I’ve talked about consistently throughout this entire book. 1. They NEVER flex the spine. 2. They NEVER rotate the spine. 3. They NEVER move the spine through a range of motion. What my “core/back builders” do is create core stability and strength by bracing the core musculature, locking the spine into a safe position and only moving the ball and socket joints. Research shows that the endurance of the core musculature (how long the muscles can perform before fatiguing) is the most important component for full back protection. As such hold times and increases of repetitions are how my “core/back builders” will progress. Building a strong core to protect your back is not about how strong your core is so you can lift a heavy object once; it’s about the continued contraction of the core muscles to ensure a stabilized and protected spine during activities that are prolonged. As you fatigue the core musculature must have good endurance capacity or risk of injury is greatly increased.
The following list may seem extensive but there are actually many more safe moves that I do myself and recommend to my patients. Due to the varying degrees of difficulty of these exercises and the different levels of fitness that we all have I will list beginner (B), intermediate (I) and advanced (A) with each exercise. As part of a sound core building program these exercises can be performed 5-6 times per week to build a strong core or 2-3 times per week to maintain core endurance, strength and stability. Each exercise should be performed for 2-3 sets. Remember, all exercises are not for all people. If an exercise doesn’t feel right or it hurts a knee, wrist or shoulder simply move on to the next progression. Because there are so many exercises listed and in attempt to not confuse or overwhelm you a good rule of thumb to follow is choose 1-2 exercises from 3 or 4 sections and do 2-3 sets of each. The next workout session you have the next day or later in the week choose another 1-2 exercises per section and do 2-3 sets of each. Please progress smartly and conservatively. If you follow my recommendations you can and will achieve a good strong core and a pain free back. Enjoy your workout and most important of all Protect Your Back!