Reduce Chronic Back Pain; A Continuation

How to Improve Core Stabilization


As mentioned in last month’s article, if your muscles are not working together properly, disfunction will show in your movement patterns. This can lead to injury and/or pain simply from routine movements, and may lead to tissue overload causing damage when performing exercises. For example, individuals suffering from chronic low back pain, often do not activate core muscles properly or sufficiently and do not have proper stabilization endurance. If traditional core and low back exercises are performed without stabilization muscles being activated, the movements will lead to injury. It is imperative that the muscles that stabilize the spine are strong before more advanced movements of the spine and traditional strength training exercises are performed.

While executing the following exercises, focus on performing the drawing-in maneuver (shown in the previous article). It is also helpful to consciously contract/tighten your core. This should be done while strength training but also while going about everyday activities, such as standing up from a seated position, squatting down to pick up something off the ground, and even while simply sitting in the cockpit or standing in line for a coffee.

The following three exercises build on the movements presented in the previous article. These can be done every day this week in the comfort of your home, hotel room or in any gym. Refer to the videos and text below.

(If you find the videos helpful and would like to learn more about stabilization exercises please check out our e-course. Exercise Basics: Learn the Secrets of Avoiding Injury for the Traveling Professional for a comprehensive program! Visit:


  1. Marching

It is important to maintain a neutral pelvis throughout this exercise while performing the drawing-in maneuver discussed in the previous article.

  • Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Your toes should be in line with your legs straight ahead and rest your arms at your side.
  • While performing the drawing-in maneuver lift one foot off the floor, not allowing the pelvis to shift, as you bring your knee toward your chest to about a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold for about two seconds and slowly lower your foot back to the ground.
  • Repeat on the other leg.
  • Repeat for a total of 12–20 repetitions per leg.
  • Rest and repeat 1–3 more times as your muscular endurance increases
  1. Floor Cobra

  • Lie face down on the floor with your arms slightly out to the side.
  • Engage your glutes (butt muscles) and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • As you engage your glutes and pull your shoulder blades back, lift your chest off the floor. Your thumbs should be pointing up toward the ceiling.
  • Keep your head and neck in a neutral position with chin slightly tucked
  • Hold for about two seconds and return back to your starting position.
  • Repeat for a total of 12–20 repetitions per leg.
  • Rest and repeat 1–3 more times as your muscular endurance increases
  1. Plank

  • Lie face down on the floor with your feet together and your forearms on the ground.
  • Life your body off the ground to form a straight line making sure to not pitch your hips up or sag in the lower back.
  • If this feels too difficult give the following modifications a try:
    • Hold your plank with your forearms or hands on a bench (pushup position) and feet on the floor
    • Hold a kneeling plank with your hands on the floor.
  • Maintain a neutral head and neck throughout the exercise and remember to breath.
  • Start by holding your plank for a about 10 or 15 seconds at a time and work your way up to one or more minutes as your strength increases.

While we always find ourselves pressed for time, these exercises can be completed quickly in the comfort and privacy of your room. Try adding one movement series at a time and work your way up. Another tip is to incorporate these movements while you have the TV on in the background or while making a hands-free call to your family.

fit sportive man and woman doing plank core exercise training back and press muscles concept gym sport sportsman crossfit fitness workout strenght power.

While it is preferable to complete the exercises without any distractions, focusing on your breath coupled with your movement, these options can serve as a starting point which is better than not practicing these movements at all. You can even squeeze in this routine without even breaking a sweat prior to meeting the crew for a social hour!

Once you have completed these exercises regularly for about four weeks and are able to complete all movements with little to no movement in the spine and pelvis, it is time to move to more dynamic exercises that challenge your balance and bring you through a wider range of motion, such as crunches on a stability ball.

Disclaimer: Please consult a health care professional prior to beginning any exercise or fitness routine. The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. All information is provided in good faith; however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, availability or completeness of any information presented in this article. Under no circumstance shall we have any liability to you for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of this article or reliance on any information provided. Your use of this article and your reliance on any information on the site is solely at your own risk.

SOURCEAero Crew News, November 2018
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The Pilot Fitness Team is comprised of husband and wife duo Joshua and Lauren Dils. Together, they bring over 20 years of travel and fitness experience to provide you professional guidance to stay fit to fly. Lauren has a bachelor’s degree in Health and Exercise Science from CSU. Lauren holds professional training certificates through NASM for personal training and as a corrective exercise specialist. She works as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor with an emphasis on high intensity training. Additionally, Lauren and Josh have both received their certificates in plant based nutrition through eCornell. Josh is an airline pilot for a major U.S. airline based in SFO. With a background in competitive athletics, Josh won the gold for the North Face Endurance Championships Marathon in 2012 and Lauren took the bronze. Josh also competed in the 50-mile distance as well as full Ironman triathlon, and was an Ironman all-world athlete in 2015. It is the combined experience as airline and health professionals that allow us to truly understand the struggles of airline personnel and how to help you reach your health and lifestyle goals. At, we offer two eCourses: The Pilot Fitness Fundamentals Course and The Seated Exercise Course along with luggage reviews and articles. Pilot Fitness has also launched its flight crew meal-planning app, Fit Flyer to help you plan for healthy eating! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also contact us directly at


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