Importance of Core: Part 4

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Phase four of “The Core” blog series is the start to learning how to maintain neutral position when the back is not supported by the floor. The exercises below challenge patients to expand neutral spine from a neutral lumbar position to the head/tail bone connection where the neutral spine is reached by counter tension. In simpler terms the crown of the head is pulled up by an imaginary fishing line and the tail bone is pulled down by both body weight and gravity.


Incline Pushup


  • Starting in a plank position against a table or a piece of stable furniture with your hands shoulder width apart. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
  • Draw your belly button to your spine to engage your core and avoid arching in the low back. Draw your shoulder blades together and down your back.
  • Bend your arms to slowly lower yourself towards the table. Keep your body in one unit – do not bend at the waist.
  • Push into the table and straighten your elbows to slowly return to the starting position.
  • Avoid any tension in the neck. Keep the back of your neck long throughout the exercise.
  • Repeat 10 times.


Prone Plank


  • Lie on stomach with your elbows directly under your shoulders and toes tucked in.
  • Lift up your body, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. Make sure your shoulder blades are drawn together, your hips are not lifted too high or dropped towards the mat, and your lower abdominals are engaged. Reach out through your heels to help you feel the length of your body.
  • Maintain the position for the 15-30 seconds.


Bilateral Pull Downs with Straight Arms




  • Stand in front of the cable column with your feet hip width apart and toes pointing forward. Keep your knees slightly bent and drop your tailbone down to the floor to avoid arching in your low back.
  • Grab onto the handles in front of you. Draw your shoulder blades together and down your back.
  • Focusing on using the last three fingers of each hand, pull the handles down to your sides. Keep your arms straight the whole way down. Do not pull the handles behind you. Avoid any tension in your neck.
  • Slowly bring your arms back up to the initial position, being sure to keep your shoulders down.
  • Repeat 10 times.


The information provided in this blog by James Fowler PT is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified healthcare provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of James Fowler PT. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.


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