Flexion of the neck and Spine:
Rotation of the spine:
Flexion of the hip:
Extension of the hip:
Flexion of the knee:
Extension of the knee:
Hands behind the head:
- Lie on your back with your spine in a neutral position.
- Place hands behind the head just at the notch at the base of the skull.
- Have your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Once in position, place your tongue behind your top teeth. Take an inhale through your nose to prepare.
- Simultaneously exhale through your nose as you energize your pelvic floor and nod your chin towards your chest. Let your head slide on the floor to stretch the back of your neck. Continue to lift your head and shoulder blades off the ground. Your chin should not touch your chest but be positioned like you are going to hold a golf ball between your chin and chest.
- Lumbar spine in an imprinted/braced position with a posteriorly tucked pelvis.
- On your next inhale begin lift your left foot off the floor to a table top 90 degree position and rotate your right shoulder towards it.
- Rotate to the opposite side and switch knees. Place the other foot back on the ground.
- Complete 10 repetitions and never let you shoulder blade touch the ground.
- As you become more proficient at the exercise you can begin to lift your feet off the ground and extend one leg to straight. Start at a table top position with feet lifted off the ground the knees bent at a 90° angle with your body.
- Maintain this posture until you are able to do 10 repetitions without losing your imprinted spine.
- Begin to lover the legs towards the ground to increase the challenge of this level. You can lower the legs straight to a 45° angle and maintain your imprinted spine.
- To increase to an advanced level you will have straight legs that will scissor and hover above the ground about 2 inches while you maintain an imprinted spine. You must find a balance between your head and legs so that your lower rib cage does not leave the ground and your lumbar spine stays on the ground.
- Do not let your head hang behind your shoulders. If your neck stays in a straight position you will feel neck strain. An adult head can weigh around 10 to 11 pounds (4.5 to 5 kg).
- Make sure your abdominal muscles do not push out like a bread loaf. Let your transverse abdominus pull tight like a corset to stabilize your spine and keep your organs from pushing against your abdominal wall. This engagement will allow you to maintain a neutral position and create a flat abdomen.
- Maintain a imprinted spine with your lumbar curve on the mat.
- Maintain your crunched position by keeping your rectus abdominus in an isometric contraction.
- Try to keep the tips of your shoulder blades just off the mat as you beat your arms up and down.
- Breathe with smooth inhales and exhales, five beats per inhale and per exhale.
Try the following technique if you are looking to focus on learning how to maintain a neutral spine while doing an abdominal crunch:
- Begin by laying on your back with your feet on the ground.
- Place your hands underneath your lumbar spine as you do your upper abdominal crunch.
- Try to have minimal pressure on your hands as they are under your lumbar spine do not tuck your tail or squeeze your gluteal muscles.
- Repeat the crunches for 10 reps or until you learn how to maintain a neutral lumbar spine and pelvis while doing upper abdominal crunches.