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Upper Body Conditioning

One of the most common sites of injury is the lower back. Injury in this region can be because of muscular imbalance, weak or inflexible muscles or poor posture. The exercises below will help develop the right level of conditioning to reduce injury to the lower back.

The exercises

Detailed below is a session of eight exercises. The exercises are to be performed slowly and smoothly and at no time should you be out of breath.

Sit Ups (Upper Abdominals)

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent, knees together and feet flat on the floor
  • Rest your hands on your thighs
  • Sit up until the palms of your hands touch your knees
  • Return to the starting position
  • Perform the movements in a slow controlled fashion
Sit Ups Sit Ups

Back Arches (Back)

  • Lie on you front with your legs crossed at the ankles, keep your feet firmly anchored to the floor
  • Hands and arms straight out in front of you
  • Raise your upper body off the floor, keep your neck in line with your spine
  • Hold for one second and then slowly lower to the floor
  Back Arches

Reverse Curl (Lower Abdominals)

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent, knees together and feet flat on the floor
  • Curl up the legs and buttocks off the floor
  • Return to the starting position
  • Perform the movements in a slow controlled fashion
Reverse Curl Reverse curl

Hip and Leg raise (Gluteals and hamstrings)

  • Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor
  • Place your hands by your side
  • Raise hips and straighten one leg and hold for a second before lowering
  • Repeat with the other leg
  Hip and Leg Raise

Transversus Abdominis (Abdominal)

  • Place yourself in the kneeling position with your hands on the ground
  • Hips directly above the knees
  • Shoulders directly above the hands
  • Keep the spine in a natural position
  • Relax the abdominal muscles and let the tummy sag down
  • Gently pull your tummy button and the area below it towards your spine
  • Hold for 10-15 seconds and then relax
Abs Abs

Short sit ups (Hip flexors and abdominals)

  • Lie on you back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor
  • Rest your hands lightly on your chest
  • Raise your body so that your upper body is at 30-40 degree angle with the floor
  • Hold for one second before coming down slowly
Short situps Short situps

Back Extensions (Back)

  • Sit on the floor with legs bent, feet flat on the floor
  • Position your hands on the floor behind you to take some of the weight
  • Raise your body off the floor so that your body is parallel with the floor
  • Hold for one second and slowly lower
  Back Extensions

Twisted Curl (Oblique Abdominals)

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent, knees together and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place the left ankle on the right knee with the left knee pointing away
  • Curl up the right shoulder to the left knee
  • Keep lower back on the ground
  • Return to the starting position
  • Perform the movements in a slow controlled fashion
  • Repeat with the other leg and shoulder
Twisted Curl Twisted Curl

How Many and How Often?

Start at one set of ten repetitions. Each week increase the number of repetitions by two. When you reach twenty repetitions increase the number of sets by one and start again at ten repetitions.

The exercises should be performed two or three times a week and be incorporated into your training schedule.

Before You Start

Prior to starting any training program, it is recommended that you have a medical examination to ensure it is safe for you to do so.


Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1996) Upper Body Conditioning [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/conbody.htm [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: