Back Pain Relief Tools

If you have ever used an ab roller, you may have experienced a sharp pain in your lower back. You are not alone. According to a new study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), many people who use ab rollers experience pain in their lower back, and in some cases, they can cause long-term damage.

Ab rollers have been around since the 1960s and have become a popular tool for those looking to strengthen their abs, obliques, and lower back muscles. It seems like a simple concept; roll out and back on your knees as your body moves forward and backward. The idea is that as you roll out, your abs and lower back engage to keep your body stable, making it an excellent exercise for strengthening your core muscles.
Ab Roller Hurts Back – A New Study Finds Out the Truth
However, in reality, the reality is quite different. The ACE study found that the movement of an ab roller can cause excessive extension in the lower back, leading to muscle strain and a risk of injury. The investigation found that the long-term use of ab rollers could be harmful to the lower back if done without proper form or with existing back-related issues.

The study made four main discoveries:

1. Ab rollers produce more activation in the rectus abdominis (abs) and external obliques compared to other popular exercises like crunches and planks.

2. Ab rollers also produce higher levels of activation in the erector spinae, the muscle group that runs up the spine responsible for the extension of the back. However, the activation of the erector spinae is also responsible for the discomfort and pain associated with ab rollers.

3. While the ab roller is an effective tool for training the core, it is not the most effective. In terms of overall muscle activation, exercises like the plank and stability ball roll-out produce similar muscle activation in the abs and obliques with less activation in the erector spinae.

4. The risk of back pain or injury from using an ab roller increases with the level of lower back extension required during the exercise. This means that the risk of injury is greater if you are extending too far with your back.

So if the ab roller is bad for your back, what exercises should you do instead? The study found that other exercises such as planks, bridges, stability ball roll-outs, and even standing cable rotations are all safer and more effective ways to train the core without putting added pressure on the lower back.

If you still want to use an ab roller, make sure you are doing so with proper form. Before using the ab roller, brace your core to create a stable pillar. This stabilizes the spine, reducing the extension that occurs, and makes the exercise safer. Use a slow and controlled motion, focusing on engaging the core muscles, and do not extend your lower back too far.

In summary, the scientific research concludes that while the ab roller is a proven exercise tool, it comes with inherent risks. Users need to understand that the ab roller can cause back pain or injury and be diligent when using it. As for those who already suffer from lower back pain or conditions like disc herniation, it is best to avoid the ab roller altogether.

This gives us a new insight into the effectiveness and safety of the ab roller exercise. Exercising should never cause you pain or injury, and now we know that its efficacy is less than the alternatives. Using the latest scientific studies, the ACE study has provided vital information that can help people make informed, evidence-based decisions when choosing exercise routines, and when it comes to the ab roller exercise they can decide if the risks outweigh the benefits.
May 23, 2023

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