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Back Pain: Home Managements #4 - Strengthening exercises for Abdominal muscles Part 2

Updated on July 4, 2013

Strengthening Exercise – External and Internal Oblique Muscles

It includes Sit-up exercise, Sit-back exercise and Supine-lying exercises.

Progression of Sit up Exercise
Progression of Sit up Exercise

A. “Sit-Up” Exercise.

The patient lies supine (ie. lying with the face upwards) on a firm bed with the hips and knees flexed and the feet flat on the floor. The patient keeps both his extended arms on the bed at his side. The exercise can be done in stages.

The progression from one stage to the next stage must be slow and gradual.

Bouncing and quick movements must be avoided.

  • Stage 1. Raise the head and shoulders from the bed keeping the shoulder blades flat on the bed. Gradually slide the arms towards the feet.
  • Stage 2. Raise the head and shoulders further from the bed , keeping the shoulder blades flat on the bed.
  • Stage 3. Raise the shoulder blades also from the bed with the arms extended forwards and sideways so as to touch the right thigh. Care should be taken that the low back and the gluteal regions remain flat on the bed, while doing this exercise. Hold in this position for 5-6 seconds or a “contraction” is felt in the Oblique Muscles. Alternatively, this exercise is done towards the left side.

This exercise program is done 5-6 times to start with and then slowly and gradually progressed to 10 times.

This exercise can also be done with the extended arms held forward and sideways so as to reach beyond the thighs.

The same exercise can also be done with the hands behind the head with the flexed elbows forward and then bending the trunk forward and sideways.

The above exercise can be progressed further with the hands and the flexed elbows behind the head and then bending the trunk forwards and sideways.

Starting Position
Starting Position
Contracted position
Contracted position

B. “Sit-Back” Exercise

Refer the “Sit-Back” exercise for the Rectus Abdominal Muscle.

Once the “Sit-Back” position is achieved the exercises to strengthen the Oblique Abdominal Muscles can be added by rotating the trunk to theleft and then to the right. The exercise begins as in the case for “Sit-Back” exercise for the Rectus Abdominis Muscle. Hold the trunk at 25-30 degrees.

Now the trunk is rotated to the left side, keeping the trunk flexed. While doing it the arm on the left side goes behind while right arm comes forward.

Hold it for 5-6 seconds or till a “contraction” is felt in the Oblique Abdominal

Muscles. Now reverse back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 5-6 times to start with and then progressed to 10 times step by step.

Repeat the exercise for the right side.

Supine Position - Strengthening Exercise
Supine Position - Strengthening Exercise

C. Oblique Abdominal Muscle Exercise- Supine Lying

The patient lies supine (lying with face upwards) with the hips and knees bend and the feet flat on the bed. Place the left foot upon the right knee with

the low back slightly flexed. Keep both the hands behind the head with the elbows flexed. Now the patient raises his head and shoulders from the bed and the flexed right elbow is brought forward and sideways from the bed and attempts to touch the left knee. This attempt needs the contraction of the Oblique Abdominal Muscle of the right side. Once the maximum flexed position of the trunk is reached, hold it in that position for 5 seconds. Now reverse back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 5-6 times and then progressed to 10 times step by step. Repeat the exercise towards the other side.

Supine Position - Strengthening Exercise
Supine Position - Strengthening Exercise

D. Oblique Abdominal Muscle Exercise – Supine Lying

The patient lies supine (lying with the face upwards). Bend both the knees slightly. Both the feet are crossed in such a way that the right leg is crossed over the left leg. Now the head and the shoulders are raised from the bed and the extended arms are raised forward and across the chest, reaching over the knees towards the right side. Hold in the maximum flexed position of the trunk for 5 seconds. Now reverse back to the starting position.

Repeat the exercise 5-6 times and then progressed to 10 times step by step.

Repeat the exercise towards the other side.

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