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Plank

Plank

The plank is an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a position for the maximum possible time. The forearm plank is what most people consider to be a standard plank.

It builds strength in our core, upper and lower body so it´s a good full body workout. We do not need any equipment to perform this exercise, and it also improves flexibility by stretching muscles and will improve posture if performed regularly.

The plank works almost every main muscle: deltoids, biceps, triceps, obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinaelatissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius.

How to do it:

  1. Start by getting into a press up position.
  2. Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms and not on your hands.
  3. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
  4. Engage your core, hold this position, and enjoy :)
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Bird-Dog

Bird-Dog

Bird-Dog is an excellent exercise to stabilize the low back during upper and lower extremity movement. The main target of the Bird Dog is the erector spinae. It’s not that difficult to do after a little practice to get the balance right. It is helpful to use a mirror to help you with form adjustments.

How to do it:

  1. Come to a quadruped position: place your hands under your shoulders. Your fingers facing forward. Place your knees under your hips. keeping your spine and neck in a neutral position; you should be looking at the floor.
  2. Slowly extend your left leg behind you while reaching your right arm forward. Slowly return to the starting position and do the move on the opposite side. Lift the leg off the floor until it is at or near parallel to the floor. Keep both shoulders parallel to the floor. Your head should remain aligned with the spine throughout the movement. Do not lift the head or let it sag downward.
  3. Back to starting position, maintaining balance and stability in the shoulders, pelvis, and torso. Alternate sides.

It looks easy, but it´s not. Let´s see the usual mistakes or problems with the next pic.

I have to say this was not on purpose :) Usually, my first set of 30 reps (15 each side) is for stabilizing. Flipped disks are that funny :)

You should not lift your leg above hip height. This will help to avoid upward rotation at the hip. Do not allow the shoulder to tilt upward. If you cross the “red line”, you should adjust instead keep counting wrong reps.

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Cat-Cow

Cat-Cow

The cat dog exercise is perfect for helping you stretch your back, torso, and neck. Also known as Marjariasana or Cat Pose, makes an ideal first exercise to warm-up.

WARNING: If you have a neck injury, consult your doctor. At least, keep the head in line with the torso.

Come to a hands and knees position. Make sure your knees are below your hips and your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.

As you inhale, raise your chin and tilt your head back, push your navel downwards and raise your tailbone.

As you exhale, drop your chin to your chest and make round your back as much as you can.

 

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The erector spinae

The Erector Spinae

The erector spinae is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons: Iliocostalis lumborum, Iliocostalis thoracis, Iliocostalis cervicis, Longissimus thoracis, Longissimus cervicis, Longissimus capitis, Spinalis thoracis, Spinalis cervicis, and Spinalis capitis. Paired, they run more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.Erectores espinales

Erector spinae is covered in the lumbar and thoracic regions by the thoracolumbar fascia, and in the cervical region by the nuchal ligament.

This large muscular and tendinous mass varies in size and structure at different regions. In the sacral region, it is narrow and pointed, and at its origin chiefly tendinous in structure. In the lumbar region, it is larger and forms a thick fleshy mass. Further up, it is subdivided into three columns. These diminish in size as they ascend to be inserted into the vertebrae and ribs.

Some of its fibers are continuous with the fibers of origin of the gluteus maximus.

The erector spinae functions to straighten the back and provides for side-to-side rotation. Also maintains the correct curvature of the spine.

Symptoms and pain associated with the iliocostalis lumborum

– Pain in the low back
– Pain concentrated in the buttock
– Occasionally pain in the low abdomen

 

 

Activities that cause iliocostalis lumborum pain and symptoms

– Bending and twisting when lifting
– Straining when trying to lift something too heavy
– Whiplash of the lower back
– Extended periods of sitting in a car or plane

Pain and symptoms associated with the longissimus thoracis

– Pain in the back starting at the bottom of the ribcage extending down into the buttocks, pain is often more significant at the bottom of the buttock.

– Pain in the back starting at the bottom of the ribcage extending down to the top of the hip, pain is often more significant at the top of the back of the hip and buttock

– Difficulty standing when rising from a sitting position

Activities that cause pain and symptoms of the longissimus thoracis

– Bending and twisting when lifting
– Straining when trying to lift something too heavy
– Whiplash of the lower back
– Extended periods of sitting in a car or plane

Symptoms and pain associated with the iliocostalis thoracis

– Pain in the upper back around the shoulder blade concentrated toward the bottom of the shoulder blade
– Pain in the back running from the top of the shoulder blade down to the upper hip bone. Pain tends to be more concentrated toward the bottom of the ribs.
– Chest pain
– Pain in the abdomen area below the ribcage and toward the side

Activities that cause iliocostalis thoracis pain and symptoms

– Bending and twisting when lifting
– Straining when trying to lift something too heavy
– Whiplash of the lower back
– Extended periods of sitting in a car or plane

Pain and symptoms associated with semispinalis cervicis muscle 

– Pain in the back of the upper neck extending up into the back of the head
– Headaches
– Tenderness in the back of the head and/or neck
– Tingling and burning in the scalp

Activities that cause semispinalis cervicis pain and symptoms

– Blow to the back of the head
– Whiplash
– Cervical collar
– Holding shoulders up due to stress
– Stress

Pain and symptoms associtated with the longissimus capitis muscle

– Pain behind and/or just beneath the ear
– Pain sometimes is felt slightly down the neck and behind the eyes
– Headaches
– Tenderness in the back of the head and neck
– Numbness and/or tingling in the scalp

Activities that cause longissimus capitis pain and symptoms

– Tension headaches
– Cluster headaches
– Whiplash
– Degenerative disc disease
– Herniated disc
– Bulging disc
– Prolapsed disc
– Intervertebral or Vertebral stenosis
– Vertebral vascular disorder
– Cervical spine hyperlordosis
– Military neck
– Thoracic spine hyperkyphosis
– Scoliosis
– Spasmodic Torticollis (Wryneck Syndrome)
– Eye Strain
– Ocular disease
– Mastoiditis

Ppain and symptoms associated with the semispinalis capitis

– Pain in the back of the upper neck extending up into the back of the head
– Band of pain going around the top head
– Pain in the temple region going down to the eye
– Headaches
– Tenderness in the back of the head and neck
– Numbness in the scalp

Activities that cause semispinalis capitis pain and symptoms

– Blow to the back of the head
– Whiplash
– Cervical collar
– Holding shoulders up due to stress
– Stress