How Men Over 40 Can Build Core Strength Without Back Pain

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For the older man who thinks there’s no way to work your abs except for an endless string of crunches and leg lifts, there is still hope.

I have two clients in their mid-50s who have shied away from many ab exercises because they have back pain. If you’ve ever experienced chronic back pain, you know there is always a fear of making it worse, so many activities and exercises are cut out of your life—especially exercise that requires you to bend, like the exercises above that feature spinal flexion. However, I started doing the hollow hold about six months ago to help with the curvature in my lower back, improve my posture and strengthen my core.

I tried it with both of my clients and they loved the move (and haven’t complained about their backs when they do it). The beauty of the hollow hold is that it demands that you ground your lower back to the floor, which gives you more security while working your abs. Also, since it’s an isometric exercise, so you don’t have to be concerned about movement, which can be a concern for those with easily inflamed back issues.

To set up, lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Drive your lower back against the ground so there’s no space between your back and the floor; flexing your abs will help with this. Now all you must do is lift your feet a few inches off the floor. Finish the move by raising your shoulders an inch off the floor and extending your arms as well.

Ultimately, you want to aim for your feet to be 2 to 3 inches off the ground—but that might be tough to start, especially for older guys. It may be easier for them to do a variation by slightly bending their knees while doing the hollow hold. In those cases, I use an alternate starting method so they may eventually progress into the ideal position.




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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. susiesopinions
    May 05, 2021 @ 22:19:20

    We do similar moves in our classes, and I don’t have a problem at age 73. Starting my one on one boxing tomorrow will my ladies 79 and 83. Age is just a number. I love volunteering ❤️🥊🥊



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