Core Exercises For Lower Back Pain: How To Improve Core Coordination

The best core exercises for lower back pain include improving core strength AND core coordination. Traditionally when individuals talk about core training they are talking about core strength. How long can you hold a plank? How many sit ups can you do? When it comes to solving lower back pain we also need to account for core coordination.

What is Core Coordination?

In it’s simplest terms, core coordination refers to the proper firing of your muscles. Do your core muscles engage when we need them to? I’ve treated many of people with strong cores who injure their backs doing something easy like pulling up their pants after using the bathroom. This is not a problem or core strength but rather core coordination, our muscles not firing when we need them and all that force going through our spine.

Why Is Core Coordination Important For Lower Back Pain?

Research has shown that lower back stabilization relies more on ‘proprioception and timing rather than gross muscular strength.’ In other words, core stability requires more coordination (proper firing of muscles) rather than isolated strength. Injuries happen when the key muscles that protect our spine don’t fire correctly.  I would argue that in adults over 40 more injuries happen due to a lack of core coordination than to a lack of core strength.

How To Improve Core Coordination

Improving core coordination is a different than building core strength. The following are three categories of exercises that aim to improve core timing and coordination to decrease the chances of lower back pain.

Rolling Patterns

Rolling patterns are a fun way to train core coordination. Essentially it trains your deeper core muscles to engage to prevent you from falling over on your side. Try them out, they’re harder than you think!

Anti Rotation Exercises

Being able to resist rotation movements is a great (and safe) way to train coordination and protect your spine. The Pallof Press is a great example of an anti rotation used to improve core coordination.

Heavy Carries

Picking up and heavy things and carrying them around requires the recruitment of many important stabilizer muscles that aren’t trained in many traditional core strength programs but is vital in improving core coordination.  Farmer’s Carry is a great example of a carry exercises everyone should be doing.

Improving core strength and coordination is just one of many ways to limit the impact that goes through our lower back and solve pain. For a more complete understanding and answers to low back pain be sure to download our free program ‘Solving Pain With Strength’.

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