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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Help, when I train abdominals I end up immobile!

Hi there - I've suffered with bad lower back since having children some years ago. Whenever I do crunches, I almost always end up immobile for days. How can I get past this to tone up my tummy? No matter how slim I am, it's always there and hangs over all my underwear.
Also, I've gained love handles and a slightly fat back below shoulder blade level. I would love to get rid of that.

Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed.



Our expert says...


With all abdominal exercises it is very easy to activate already over tight muscles (not necessarily the right ones!) and put the lower back muscles under stress. This is why people commonly experience lower back pain/problems when doing or after doing abdominal exercises. The key thing about core training is the technique of how it is done?i.e. the speed at which its done, attention given to the right muscles and the control used.

I suggest you look at my article on core training and try these exercises, carefully following the teaching points to re-train the deeper core muscles that support and protect against lower back problems. If this proves unsuccessful then I would suggest seeing a fitness professional in person so you can be effectively assessed for core strength and potential postural/activation issues.

Once you can effectively activate these core muscles without your lower back reacting then you are well on your way to targeting the shape and size of the core. Once you can activate the stomach muscles you can also encourage fat utilisation from this area and massively improve tone!! This combined with other training to maximise calorie expenditure and a balanced diet and you can target all the areas (your back and ?love handles?) that you want to change.

Hope this helps


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