Sunday, 1 September 2013

Exercise of the month - Curl Up

The curl up is the best way to perform any type of 'sit up' abdominal exercise - if you do the curl up correctly you will challenge your core muscles whilst imposing minimal compressive load on your spine. You will be placing half the amount of compressive load on your spine from doing a curl up instead of a full sit up

The curl up

Always warm up before doing any core exercises - the cat camel stretch as shown previously on our blog is a great way to warm up - do it slowly with a view to limbering up your spine rather than stretching it out.

When you perform the curl up all the effort needs to come from your abdominal muscles. The muscle you are looking to work is the 'Rectus Abdominus' (muscle labelled 2 and only shown on 1 side of the body) this muscle attaches at the top to your ribs and sternum and goes down attaching at the bottom to your pubic bone - this is the muscle that gives the look of a 6 pack!

When you are performing the curl up focus on squeezing this muscle together from top to bottom to make it shorter - as you do this your shoulders will naturally lift from the floor but the movement should be lead by the shortening of the muscle not by actively lifting up your shoulders. When you get the technique for this exercise correct you will  find it much harder to do. If you feel tension in your shoulders or back then go back to the starting position and try again - keeping your focus on the abdominal muscles doing all the work.

When performing this exercise keep your chin tucked in and when starting out bend your knees as shown in the picture - this helps to keep your back in a neutral position - as you progress on with this exercise you can 1st straighten 1 knee and then both as your abdominal muscles become stronger.

Start by doing 1 set of 6 reps and build up to doing 3 sets of 15 reps.

Enjoy the search for that exclusive 6 pack.

If you are suffering with back pain and would like to come and see us for treatment and advice please get in contact.

Hazel Dillon is a Chiropractor at the Octagon Clinic

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