Exercises that take place in the prone position and challenge back muscles may not be for you if you have spinal arthritis or facet joint problems. Back conditions such as a herniated disc have an extension bias (i.e., they take well to movements that arch your back, such as the prone pres-up, described below). If you are unsure as to whether exercising in the prone position is right for you, consult your doctor or physical therapist before trying this.
- Start Position: Lie prone (on your stomach). The prone position tends to increase the arch in your low back, so if this is uncomfortable, put a pillow under your abdominal area.
Place your forehead on the floor. Again, if you feel you need padding or support, put a rolled towel or small pillow under your forehead.
Your elbows should be bent and your forearms resting on the floor on either side of your trunk. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders, with your palms facing the floor.
- Press Up: Keeping your back, neck and head in alignment, exhale and push your trunk up by pressing into your forearms. Come up to supporting your body weight mainly on your elbows with help from your forearms, or as close to that as you can without pain. As you develop strength in your back, shoulders and arms, progress to extending your elbows all the way (but don't lock them straight). Hold the position for between 5 to 30 seconds. Don't forget to breathe!
- Return to Start Position: Inhale, exhale and slowly lower yourself down to the start position. By moving slowly, you'll challenge your abs, back and arm muscles more. This develops core strength and body awareness.
- Repeat: Repeat this back extension sequence 3-5 times.
What You Need
- A firm, level surface to lie on.