Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography /

Exercises for those deep abdominal muscles

Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CGFI


Recently, I’ve seen a couple of young athletes with low back pain.  Their range of motion wasn’t an issue, it was their ability to stabilize their spine and active their core.  The core muscles, especially the deep abdominal group, the transverse abdominus, are integral to create tension and stability for the lower back to effectively brace against forces that an athlete can come up against during any sport or daily activity.  Here’s a couple of killer deep ab exercises that can really test your ability to brace effectively.

Plank with feet on wall:

This exercise really tests your ability to create tension throughout your entire body, applying pressure with the hands all the way to the feet on the wall.  Place your hands on the floor and then your feet on the wall.  Your body should be parallel to the ground with your feet at shoulder height and your hands directly below your shoulders. The key is to be tight through the core abdominal muscles and create tension away from the center.  If you can hold the position for up to a minute, you can add more challenge by bending one knee and holding the position with one foot on the wall.


Stir the pot plank:

This exercise tests your ability to move the arms and stabilize your trunk against rotation.  Again, it depends on your ability to maintain tension in the deep abdominals and stability in the trunk.  From a plank position, your elbows should be on the physioball.  Then move your arms in small circles to challenge your trunk and core stability. Start with small circles and challenge yourself with larger circles.  Perform equal rotations in both directions for up to a minute.


Try these exercises to ramp up your core workout and prep your body and your lower back for sports.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417. We are located in the Madison and Summit area YMCAs, you do not need to be a member to come see us.


Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography /