Supine Heel Taps
This is a great core exercise geared towards those just starting out and/or anyone who has suffered from any type of sciatic pain, disc pathology, or spinal stenosis. This core strengthening exercise is one of my personal favourites as it can easily be modified to increase or decrease difficulty depending on rehabilitation needs, as well as having the option to make it an unilateral or bilateral exercise.
Although core exercises are a fundamental component of any chiropractic treatment plan, not all core exercises are suitable for every back ailment or condition. If you have back concerns, please consult with your Chiropractor or health care practitioner to ensure this exercise is suitable for you.
Step 1: Start by lying flat on your back. Engage your lower abdominal muscles and perform a pelvic tilt. Place your hands in a triangle shape and position them directly under your sacrum. They should rest in and about the same shape as your sacrum (the triangle bone at the very base of your spine.)
Step 2: Raise both legs and place them in a table top position (both knees and hips should be at roughly 90º angles). The key to having this exercise engage the correct muscles is to ensure the hips and knees are stacked on top of each other or the knees are even slightly angulated away from the torso (as demonstrated in the picture to the right). If you allow your hips to be drawn closer to your chest, you will find the exercise much easier as it will not isolating the lower back and pelvic floor muscles.
Step 3: Slowly lower one foot towards the floor while continuing to maintain your hand position under the sacrum. This forces the pelvis into a pelvis tilt, allowing you to properly execute the move without arching your back and increased risk of injury. DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH! Only if you have an extremely strong core, and no current back concerns, should you consider removing your hands and performing the heel tap.
Step 4: Alternate sides and repeat each leg 5 times. It should take about 5 seconds to lower one leg to the floor.
If you would like to increase the difficulty of the exercise, attempt to perform the exercise with alternating straight legs or with both legs lowering simultaneously.
Dr. Crysta Serné
Vancouver Chiropractor and owner of Vitality Clinic
*Dr. Serné assumes no responsibility for anyone attempting to perform these exercises without her specific approval.