3 Moves for Better Spine Health

Known as 'Stuart McGill’s Big 3', these exercises are crucial for both optimum spine health and reducing existing back pain and conditions such as muscle or ligament injury, poor posture, arthritis and disc damage. Dr McGill is a researcher, professor and renowned author with over 30 years’ experience in the causes and treatment of back pain. Central to his study is the belief that core muscle endurance, and not just strength, helps to stabilise the spine and prevent injury and denigration. “The spine is your pillar for movement ,” says Workshop’s Founder, Lee Mullins. “If there’s any dysfunction in terms of posture or sections in spine that aren’t mobile or stable when they need to be, it will end up leading to compensations in the rest of the spine or body, which over time can led to a lot of issues.” To keep your spine in optimum condition, aim to include these three moves in your daily workout session.

Bird Dog

1. Kneel on a mat with your knees hip width apart and your hands on the ground shoulder width apart. Brace your abdominals.

2. Lift one hand and the opposite knee just off the ground while balancing on the other hand and knee. As you move, keep your weight centred, your abs engaged and your hips squared to the ground. Extend to the full range of motion by pointing the same arm straight out in front of you and extending your raised leg straight out behind you.

3. Hold for a few seconds then return your hand and knee to the starting position.

4. Repeat for 5 reps on each side.

Front Plank

1. Begin by lying on a mat, face down with your forearms and toes on the floor. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders and your hands should be facing forward. Your head should be relaxed.

2. Stiffening your torso and legs, slowly lift your whole body off the mat while keeping your forearms and hands on the ground. Try to avoid your back dropping, your back or hips arching upwards and your knees bending. Keep your shoulders positioned directly over your elbows. Continue to breathe while you hold the position.

3. When you’re ready, gently lower your body back down to the mat before relaxing.

Side Plank

1. Lie on your side with your legs extended and stacked from hip to feet and your elbow directly under your shoulder. Ensure your head is directly in line with your spine. 

2. Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your hips and knees from the mat while keeping your torso in a stiff, straight line. Hold the position.

3. When you’re ready, gently lower your body back down to the mat before relaxing.