reverse curl up issues after Back Block

by george howe
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Hi Sarah,
I actually bought your Back Block in the UK over 12 maybe even 15 yrs ago. I'm now living in Malaysia and my back pain has been getting worse and tried lots of pyhsio, chiropractic and treatments and exercises but nothing really worked.
While search the net i came accross your site and remembered my old back block that i hardly used after having a try only once or twice. So i tried your method with a book and it really helped with the lower back pain and hyperlordosis i have. I did it for a few days and asked my mum to send over my old back block.
Problem im having is the 3r part when i go into the Reverse curl up, As soon as i let go of my knees after bracing my abs they immediately bulge out and as hard as i try what feels like more my upper abs bulge out and my lower abs dont seem to engage. This is strainig my lower back and after the exercises i stand up walk around feeling my lower back muscles really tight and uncomfortable.
I have a small lumbar cushion and i tried the reverse curl up with that under my lumbar spine and it was much better. My abs did not bulge and i got a feeling for the lower abs working and got a bit of a burn.
Do you think it is ok to after rocking the knees to use the lumbar cushion under my lower back while doing the reverse curl ups without losing any of the benefits from the practice?

Kinds Regards


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Sep 30, 2013
difficulty doing lower abs
by: sarah

Hello George,
How lovely that you have been using the BackBlock, off and on all those years!
in the early days, it is often hard for people with hyperlordosis (hollowing of the lower back) to engage the lower abs, as you have found.
And no, there's nothing wrong with using a small pillow under the lower back to help you get the correct action. It might be worthwhile remembering, however, that weakness of transverses abdominis (TrA) is the reason that your lower belly wells up when you go to bring your knees towards your chin. Remember that transversus acts like a cinch of belt around the waist that actually encapsulates rectus abdominis, the most superficial muscle, at the front of your belly and stops it ballooning out. (This is exactly like the 'flexor retinaculum' at the wrist, which acts like a watch strap to stop the tendons at the front of your wrist fanning up as you bend the wrist). The bottom line is that we have to get the deepest muscle, transversus, working better. The purist form of TrA work is simply pulling in your belly, particularly below navel level.
As an additional measure, you can do 'active-assisted' reverse collapse to start with – which simply means helping your knees with your hands as a combined action using your tummy. The help gives you a better, more fluent action which you then, in a sort of a way, imitate.
You may have read it already but there is a lot of stuff on about the best and worst abdominal exercises. Read the link below:
about the worst abdominals exercise

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