This is an excellent exercise to promote a stable core by applying movement through either the legs or arms and legs together. The combined movement occurs at the hips and shoulders while the low back remains stable, allowing this exercise to have excellent carry over to your daily movements.
You can also ‘sweep’ your arm and knee back underneath your body so no weight is borne by either, in between each repetition. Don’t let your back round during this motion but instead maintain the neutral spine position and allow the motion to only occur from the hips and shoulders! Again, perform the same descending rep-scheme as the previous two exercises.
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SPINE STABILITY - THE CURL UP
Curl-up – Technique Tips
How Many Repetitions??
This depends on individual capability but working off a descending pyramid is a logical start. An example program would be to perform 3 sets of five reps, then three reps, and finally one repetition to end (each with an 8-10 second hold). Rest between each set for 20-30 seconds.
As the rep scheme becomes easier, increase the number e.g. 7-5-2, 8-6-3
Note - To advance the exercise raise the elbows 1 inch off the ground
The goal is to perform this curl-up without any movement in the low back! Raising the head and shoulders too high (like a traditional crunch) will flex the spine and apply excessive forces which could increase your symptoms.
You can progress this exercise and increase the difficulty by bracing your abs before moving your head/shoulders and raising your elbows from the ground to decrease your base of stability.