First off, some supine ab exercises would be contraindicated (=disapproved) by some physical therapists and personal trainers for someone with your back issues. So if you're unsure, it's best to ask a phys. therapist in person.
I can see her point - that outside the gym, we do not use our abs with our hands supporting our back, so that can be a crutch giving a false sense of strength. Then again, outside the gym, we rarely use our core in a supine position and without using our upper body.. which makes many pilates exercises unrealistic in terms of how our body is normally used. A good core workout isn't measured by how painful it is, but by whether it simulates how our core tends to be used in the real world.
Fitness Minutes: (0)
4 6/6/13 9:14 A
Thank you for all your responses. :-)
Does anyone have any understanding why she would say that making that modification means I'm not strengthening my abs? At one point she said it wasn't doing anything for my back muscles, and I agreed with that, but then she also insisted that it wasn't working my abs. I told her I *feel* it in my abs, and she said something like "Yeah, you are tensing them, but you aren't strengthening them." She actually said that I would be better off doing nothing that to do that.
She suggested that I make a different modification for supine leg circles -- bend the knees somewhat and bring my knees over my torso. I tried it, but it doesn't feel like I am doing much of anything. I told her that, but she said it is actually working better than putting my hands under my buttocks.
She is a personal trainer, works with weight lifters and others, so I have to think that she knows what she is talking about, but I don't understand what she is saying here.
Can anyone with more knowledge that I have (and that would be almost everyone!) help me to understand? I want to get the best benefit from my workout, but what she is saying doesn't jibe with what I am feeling. However, I know, sometimes, things are counter-intuitive.
I agree with the previous posters. There's nothing wrong with putting your hands under your lower back/buttocks area if you need it for support while lying on your back.
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,430 6/6/13 7:29 A
Until I could get my back muscles strong enough to keep my spine from arching during those types of exercises, I stuck my hands under the small of my back too. Another thing I did was not lower my legs as far because when your legs are higher it puts more stress on your lower back/spine. Doing the exercise correctly is good, doing the exercise in a way that won't further injure yourself is better.
Fitness Minutes: (109,694)
13,439 6/6/13 5:45 A
with your health problems, you should be modifying exercises in a way that doesn't hurt for you.
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4 6/6/13 1:31 A
Hi guys. I was wondering if I could get some input/advice/perspective from folks here. I hope to keep this short, but there is a lot of background. Please feel free to ask questions.
*I am a nearly 53 year old female.
* I had lost 140 lbs over the last several years. During that time, I took Peak Pilates on the mat and reformer with a personal trainer (as well as doing water aerobics, yoga and walking on the treadmill).
*Last summer I got very sick and was bed-bound for several weeks, and took another several weeks to recuperate fully. By that time, I had started gaining weight, then the holidays hit, I was feeling discouraged... anyway, one month ago, I was back up about 54 lbs.
*I have been back to eating properly and exercising more, and so I've lost 14 lbs. in the last month.
* I have multiple chronic health problems, but the one most related to this question is that I have a pretty damaged spinal cord, with an extrusion at L1/L2, ruptures at L3/L4 and C5/C6 and all the others are bulging. I also have stenosis and lots of calcifications (bone spurs) on the vertebrae.
*When I did Pilates alone with the trainer, we modified things to fit my body. One modification we made was that there were times I put my hands under my buttocks, when doing an exercise where my back would arch. Otherwise, I could totally feel the effort move into my back, and I would have pain then, and later.
*Today I went to a class with a different trainer, who kept cueing me to not put my hands under my buttocks. After class we talked about it, and she kept saying doing that was a crutch, and I wasn't strengthening anything. I told her I could *feel* the muscles in my stomach working, but she said it wasn't benefiting me.
*I'm okay with making modifications on my own, so I'm not asking folks to "back me".
*What I am interested in in learning what people think about the practice of putting your hands under your buttocks during exercises like lowering legs to the ground, supine leg circles, or scissors. Do you think it significantly diminishes the impact of the exercise? Do you think it is ever appropriate, or should I be avoiding that practice?
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