Strengthening Exercises

The best way to prevent injury is by having strong, flexible muscles and joints which resist strain and injury. Stretch slowly, and never do any exercise that causes pain. The exercises below can make your core trunk muscles resistant to future attacks of back and neck pain.

Strength Exercise Menu

Knee Twist

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Lie on your back with your knees bent. While trying to keep your lower back flat, slowly let both knees fall together toward the floor. Hold for ten seconds, then go back to start position with knees up. Repeat other side. Repeat the exercise 10 times.


Side Leg Raises

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Lie on side as shown with right leg bent and left leg straight. Slowly raise left leg upward. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times before switching legs.


Leg Adduction

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Lie on your side as shown with your left foot resting on a chair, and the right one below, resting on the ground. Raise the lower leg upward against the bottom of the chair. Hold for 10 seconds and then return the leg to the floor. Repeat 10 times then switch sides to exercise the left leg.


Hip Adduction

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Attach one end of the SportCord to a low stationary fixture, the other to the area three inches above your knee. Slowly extend your right knee outward toward the floor. Hold for ten seconds then return to starting position. Repeat ten times. Switch legs and repeat.


Side Hip Abduction

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Lie on side with knees and hips bent. Keep feet together. Now spread knees apart lifting upper knee toward ceiling. Do not separate feet. You can place a cuff weight on upper knee to add resistance. Repeat 10 times each side.


Bridge with Ball

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Lie on floor with heels on ball. Keeping abs tightened and glutes squeezed, slowly lift your hips off the floor until shoulders, hips and feet in a straight line (don't arch back). Hold position 5 seconds and lower while maintaining ab and glute contraction. Repeat 10 times for each set.


Arm - Triceps Stretch

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Position hands behind head as shown. Grasp right elbow with left hand and pull toward the left slightly to feel a stretch in the right tricep. Hold for 5 seconds, and then repeat with other arm.


Hamstring Stretch

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Place a belt or rope around the arch of your foot. Straighten your leg. Slowly begin to pull your leg to a straight up position. Depending upon your flexibility, having your leg point straight up may be a realistic goal. For those who have good flexibility, you may be able to go past vertical during your stretch.


Bicep Curls with Ball

Sit erect on Swiss ball with your chest out, shoulders relaxed and back. Maintain your lumbar curve and keep abdominal muscles tightened. Hold weights in hands and lift alternately bringing hands to shoulder level and down. Remember to relax shoulders and keep shoulder blades down and back. Repeat 10 times with each arm, alternating.


Military Press

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While sitting on a ball or chair, with dumbbells in each hand, position your arms at shoulder level as shown, and then press upward to the ceiling. Repeat 10 times. Try to do 3 sets.


Side Pulldowns

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Secure your theraband or Sportcord near the top of the door frame. Start pulling down and across the body (as shown). Be sure to keep the thumb pointed up when at the top of the pattern and rotate it down as your arm descends. Repeat 10 times.


Arm - Triceps Pulldowns

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Anchor your theraband or Sportcord at the top of doorframe. Grasp the ends/handles, and pull down toward your hips, keeping your upper arms by the side of your body. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.



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This exercise can strengthen a healthy knee, and prepare it for the high impact the knees may get on the crusty snow, or the spring action generated by the fresh powder. To do this exercise, start with the feet shoulder width apart. Your hands are outstretched for balance. Lower your body slowly (do not bounce up and down) until the thighs are horizontal. Hold your squat position for five seconds, then stand. Repeat ten times.


Leg Swings

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This exercise requires a great deal of balance. You may put one hand on a chair back to balance if need be. To do this exercise, stand on your right leg. Extend your left leg out in front of you until it can almost touch the floor, 18 inches in front. Next, slowly begin to swing the left leg to the side so the leg may touch the floor, 18 inches to the side, then back behind you, then back to the starting position. You left leg will have made a large semicircle path from front to back. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.


Standing Rotation

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Rotational Stretch - If you want to get back in shape for rotational sports like tennis and golf, you need rotational stretches. Hold a racquet, golf club or broom across your shoulders as shown. Without moving your feet, slowly rotate your shoulders to the left, then back to the right. Also do this stretch for 5 minutes before playing to reduce risk of strain.


Ski Exercise Moguls

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Place a towel on the floor. Start on your right foot with your left hand on the floor, as shown in picture one. Next, jump upward from this position, across the towel landing on your left foot and right hand. Get momentum going and hop from side to side for one minute, then rest. Repeat for 10 one minute intervals.


Abdominal Crunch

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Lie on your back with feet together, raised up (upper left). Raise your shoulders up slightly so they are four inches off the ground (bottom left). Do not use your hands to jerk your head up. Hold for 3 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times.

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Lie on your back. Try to keep your low back in contact with the ground. Slowly lift your right shoulder up six inches off the ground. Merely raise your shoulders up six inches, hold for one second and lie down. Repeat for ten sit ups, alternating left shoulder and right shoulder. DO not do a full sit up. DO not put your hands behind your neck to jerk yourself upward.


Hamstring Stretch II

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Start with your left leg slightly bent as shown, and with your right leg crossed over the other. Grab the left leg at the back of the thigh and pull toward the chest until the right leg is straight up, but no farther. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Switch legs and repeat 10 times.


NOTE: We recognize that people will diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about nonsurgical aspects of care, the role of exercise in your long-term recovery, and injury prevention. In some cases exercise may be inappropriate. Remember, if you diagnose or treat yourself, you assume the responsibility for your actions. You should never do any exercise that causes increased pain. You should never do any exercise that places body weight on a weakened or injured limb or back.

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