Per Dr. Bryan Matthisen, D.C.

Injuries to the low back occur due to poor biomechanics of not utilizing proper hip hinging technique (bending at the hip), which leads to bending motions to occur at the low back and improper utilization of weak core musculature. Core musculature includes:

  • Abdominals

  • Obliques

  • Gluteal musculature

  • Adductors

Here are the 3 best exercises to help strengthen your core to prevent future injury!

Main goal: Keep your spine in neutral position for all!

Bird Dog


  • Keep your spine in neutral position the whole time! Key concept!

  • To set up, get into a quadriped stance with hands aligned with your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips

  • Think opposite arm, opposite leg for correct completion of the repetition

  • For your selected side, focus on shooting your heel back and hand forward feeling the gluteal muscles and shoulder stabilizing muscles contract

Side Glute Bridge



  • Lay on your side with your table side elbow aligned with your shoulder, hand on your hip, legs bent at the hip at 45 degrees, and knees bent at 90 degrees

  • Actively hip thrust forward so you flex and extend at the waist so your body is in a straight line while off the ground.

  • Activation of the table side musculature (the left gluteal muscles in the picture) and the core muscular wall should be felt

  • Alternate sides

McGill Curl Up


  • Lay flat on a table or a comfortable surface with hands underneath the curvature of your low back

  • One leg straight with one leg bent (picture example) OR both legs bent, patient preference

  • Goal is simple, lift your shoulder blades so they’re off the table

  • To help limit excessive neck flexion, fixate your eyes on a specific point on the ceiling AND imagine a string connecting from your chest to the ceiling while completing this exercise

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