Leg lifts are another core exercise great for the upper and lower abdominals, but traditional leg lifts usually offer way too much resistance if you have degenerative disc disease, particularly in the lumbar region. These modified leg lifts are safe for almost anyone with spinal deterioration or connective tissue disorders if you follow the instructions in the video. and can complete them without triggering any pain. The key is to never get careless and always engage the abdominals before you even begin the lift. The first type demonstrated are for absolute beginners who have been deconditioned by chronic pain and illness, are currently suffering or may have recently recovered from a procedure. They offer the least amount of resistance and will help you work toward more challenging exercises. You may need to do these first for a while before moving to the one leg lift I demonstrate last.
I don’t demonstrate a two leg lift because I can’t do them. Okay, I can, but not without risking my own deteriorating post-surgical back and I don’t do anything that chances injury anymore. If you have a good back and find you’ve advanced to the level of the traditional two leg lift, there are plenty of videos and tutorials out there to choose from. I mention this because some younger zebras who haven’t faced any disc degeneration yet might not have a problem getting to that level and the more you build and maintain your core is beneficial. If you attempt it though, work your way up in difficulty and be certain you have the strength to pull them off and that you’re engaging the right muscles; your abdominals, before you even begin to lift your legs. It would be tragic to cause your first disc injury in pursuit of better health.
If these don’t work for you for some reason, don’t get discouraged. There are a lot of different core exercises out there and if you keep trying, you will find some that work for you. Sometimes it’s a matter of starting off with one that works and adding on others later, as your core becomes stronger and more stable.