Proper mid torso and back development is crucial for any athlete's performance. According to Donald Demay, a physical therapist from Pro-Fit Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, it's important to keep the spinal supporting structures strong by doing spinal stabilization exercises in order to prevent injury. There are simple and gentle spinal stabilization exercises that athletes can incorporate in a conditioning or rehabilitation routine.
Bridging progression is part of Kaiser Permanente's recommended lumbar stabilization exercises for stabilizing the spine and lower back. Athletes can do the bridging position to strengthen the lower back; target muscles include gluteus maximus and erector spinae/multifidus. To do the bridging position, lie on your back with your knees bent. Keep your feet flat on the floor and lift the buttocks off the floor. Hold the position without arching your back and then slowly lower your hips to the ground. Do the bridging position again and alternately raise one heel at a time. Go back to the bridging position and this time alternately lift each knee. Hold a bridging position again and alternately extend each knee. Lower buttocks to the floor, start over and repeat.
According to the Abilene Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, doing spinal stabilization exercises like quadruped progression helps build a stable core which prevent injuries. It also helps to decrease low back pain. Spinal erectors are the primary muscles involved in this exercise. Other muscles involved are the abdominal and deltoids. To do this exercise, kneel with both knees with both hands flat on the floor. Next raise one arm and the opposing leg simultaneously. Do not arch your back and maintain a neutral spine. You should be in a horizontally outstretched position. Hold this position, then return back to the starting position and repeat with your opposing arm and leg.
Single-leg Glute Bridging
The Boston University Athletic Enhancement Center recommends the single-leg glute bridging as a basic core exercise for spine stabilization. This helps to build an athlete's posture which then aids in improving technique and form. Single-leg glute bridging is done by lying on the back with the knees bent and feet flat. Arms should be at the side, then lift one leg off the ground and straighten it out by extending the hips. Alternate sides and repeat. Targeted muscles include the lower back, hamstrings, glutes, calves and quads.
Article Written By Rona Aquino
Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.