Tag Archives: lumbar stabilization

Strengthening the Lower Back for Wakeboarding

backThe lower back is an extremely important area in the sport of wakeboarding. It acts as part of the core to stabilize while being pulled from either the boat or cable. It also is often engaged as the center of gravity for flips and spins. The lower back  is stocked with layers upon layers of muscles and ligaments for stability and cushioned with discs for shock absorption. The complexity is great, but often times, the small, but important,  muscles tend to be underutilized. It is important to keep them all engaged to prevent injury and remain pain free.

image: corpushumain.ca

Here are a few exercises to strengthen the stabilizing muscles in the lumbar spine:

1. Pelvic Tilts– Begin lying on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Start pulling your belly button into your spine and drawing it in and up. Hold for a few seconds then release, moving into an arched position. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

pelvic-tilt

image: ericavijay.net

2. Bridges– Begin in the same position as pelvic tilts. With your arms at your sides, palms facing down, push your pelvis up, contracting your glutes. Hold for a few seconds and lower back down to starting position. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

bridge-exercise

image: goldenworkoutroutines.com

3. Cross Crawl- Begin on your hands and knees, with your belly button pulled into your spine and your head in a neutral position. Start lifting right arm and left leg, extending out and elongating. Bring back to starting position and repeat with opposite arm and leg. Continue alternating for 20 reps per side, aiming to have a smooth transition and holding the abdominals tight.

lower_back-cross_crawl_kneeling2

image: humanhealthplace.com

4. Cat-Camel– Begin in the same position as cross crawls. Start by arching your back and sagging your belly (the cat). Hold for a few seconds and transition into pulling your stomach in as high as you can (the camel). Alternate back in forth for 20 repetitions.

catcamel

image: precisionsportsmedicine.com

5. Side Plank-Start in a push up position, except on the elbows. Move your weight to one elbow and open up to stack feet on one another or beside, depending on proficiency. Raise the free arm into the air or bend and place on hip. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

sideplank

image: womenshealthmag.com

6. Supermans- Begin lying on your stomach. Reach arms out overhead. Lift arms and legs a few inches off the ground and hold, while engaging the glutes and lower back muscles. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

superman

image: fitnessandfreebies.com

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“Glutes Are The New Core”

Most people, when asked about strength and conditioning, always talk about core stabilization. “Core, Core,Core! Crunches, situps, obliques!” Although having strong abdominals contribute to the core, glutes are an important player in maintaining a strong core. They are the forefront in maintaining proper alignment in the spine and hips, and are key in movement like walking, jumping, and in wakeboarding, takeoff and landing.

When the glutes are weak, more stress is placed on the lower back and when the large support of the glutes are no longer available, you are more susceptible to back pain and run the risk of injury.

So how do you strengthen this beloved muscle group?

Below are a series of exercises designed to target the glute muscles:

1. SIDE-LYING LEG LIFT

Lie on your side with your legs extended out straight. Your lower arm can rest under your head; your top arm can rest on your hip. Lift the top leg up while keeping your hips steady and facing forward. Lower down and repeat. For an added challenge, wear an ankle weight. Variations: Instead of lifting straight up and down, add clockwise circles, counterclockwise circles, forward and backward squares, and bicycle motions to intensify the burn.

2. SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFT

Stand on your right leg with your left leg behind you and in the air. Keeping your shoulders back and your back straight, hinge forward and reach your hands toward the ground. Return back up by squeezing your glutes and repeat. Hold weights or a medicine ball for an added challenge.

3. HIP EXTENSIONS ON EXERCISE BALL 

Lie on your back on an exercise ball with feet planted shoulder width apart on the floor. Support your head with your hands. Drop your hips down, arching your back and then lift the hips back up by squeezing the buttocks. Repeat.

Only have time for one exercise? The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Reseach reports that the side-lying leg lift activates the glutes the most.

Enjoy!

Image: realsimple.com

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