Many times the first thing that come to people’s mind when you say core is crunches, sit ups and/or some sort of twisting exercise. Unfortunately, two of your low back’s most hated movement, especially when combined is flexion and twisting. So repetitive flexion and/or twisting exercises in order to sculpt that beautiful core most likely will end up causing some low back pain and/or tension.
So how do we train those muscles that twist and flex our core? We do exercises in which we recruit the core as a whole, such as with planks, and we do exercises that resist the body’s urge to twist. In doing so we are working the exact muscles that you would be targeting with those old exercises, but in a much safer way. Some beginning core exercises are shown here, Left is the Bird-Dog and Right is the Dead-Bug. No twisting or bending of the spine and core throughout the leg and arms movement. Work on raising only one limb at a time w/o allowing twisting. Once this becomes easy slowly either raise or lower your arm, then repeat the action with opposite the leg, then slowly lower back down to starting. Repeat on opposite side.
In both exercises we are relearning how to brace your core as a whole, locking down the pelvis and lower ribs so that our low back remains stable throughout the entire exercise. When our core is locked, we should be able to move our legs and arms around freely w/o losing that braced core. We should also be able to maintain a steady belly breathing pattern while maintaining a braced core, more than not we tend to hold our breath during workouts which hinders us.