The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

What Does It Look Like to Not Use Abdominal Muscles?

Readers have been e-mailing asking for more photos of what "the plank" and other exercises, or even daily life looks like if done in a way that doesn’t use the abdominal muscles as intended.

In the top photo at left, you can see the badly arched lower back at the junction of the t-shirt and beltline. Her back is sagging and "hammocking" under body weight. The hip tilts up in back. If she used her abdominal muscles to tilt her hip under, the spine would be held straight and prevented from sagging. The lower back would no longer pinch backward and compress under her weight. The joints that hold the vertebrae (spine) together are called the facet joints. They get hurt from overarching. Injections are not the answer. To stop the cause of the injury, you simply stop bashing your facet joints together by preventing overarching.

The lower photo shows not using abdominal muscles while standing and reaching overhead to learn how to twirl fire sticks, a common beach activity here in Southeast Asia. The lower arrow over the hip shows how the hip is tilting instead of straight. The hip tilts down in front and up in back. 

To move your spine to healthier straight position, use the pelvic tilt hip tucking method taught in the post Throw a Stronger Punch (or Push a Car or Stroller) Using This Back Pain Reduction Technique.


Another way to understand the movement of tilting the hip under (pelvic tilt or tuck) to bring the spine into healthy straight position is to try this:

  • Stand with your heels, backside, shoulders, and the back of your head against a wall. Gently try to press the space in the lower back toward the wall.
  • You don't have to touch the wall, in fact, that is too much tilt. Just learn how to move the hip with a slight curl-under, so that the arch lessens until your hip is straight and no longer tilted forward and down in front.
  • Don't bring your head forward away from the wall.
  • Gently hold the tilt as you walk away from the wall.
  • Keep breathing. Don't tighten your abs. That is not how to use them for real life. Just use your muscles to reposition your spine, like moving your arm or leg - simply and easily and in relaxed manner.

The tilt is not an exercise to do 10 times. It is something you do once, the use, for better health, better use of abs, and better looks. Send in your own photos of your own successes. Have fun.



Read inspiring success stories of these methods and send your own. Before asking questions, see if your answers are already here by clicking labels under posts, links in posts, archives at right, and The Fitness Fixer Index. For personal medical questions - Replies to Medical Questions.
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Photo 1 by DJ Solitaire
Photo 2 copyright by Dr. Bookspan

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.