Williams Spine Exercises

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In 1937, Dr. Paul Williams published his exercise program for chronic lower back pain. These exercises are still used by physicians and physical therapists in the treatment of back discomfort. Williams’ exercises specifically target the abdominal, gluteus and hamstring musculature. They also work to stretch the lumbar spinal muscles and hip flexors. This creates a balance between the two opposing muscle groups.

Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt is the most basic of Williams exercises. Begin by lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Squeeze your gluteal muscles together, lifting your buttocks off the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Your goal should be 10 pelvic tilts before moving onto the next exercise.

Single Knee to Chest

Single knee to chest is an exercise designed to stretch the lumbar musculature. You start by lying flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your left knee into your chest and hold for 10 seconds. Release the knee and place your foot back on the floor. Alternate sides and repeat the process with your right leg. Your goal should be 5 repetitions on each leg.

Double Knee to Chest

Double knee to chest is performed similarly to single knee to chest. Once again, begin on your back, knees bent and feet on the floor. Pull your left knee into your chest. Once the left knee is in place, slowly bring your right knee into your chest as well. Maintain this position for 10 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your lower back. Repeat this exercise for 5 repetitions.

Partial Sit-up

The partial sit-up will focus on the abdominal muscles. Lie flat on your back, knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, making sure not to tuck your chin into your chest. Attempt to lift the head and chest to the ceiling. Remain in this position for 2 to 4 seconds, before releasing and lying back down. Repeat 10 times.

Wall Squat

The wall squat is a variation of the squat, which focuses on the abdominals, buttocks and thigh. Stand with head, shoulders and back pressed against the wall. Feet should be two feet away from the wall. Slowly lower yourself, until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold for one second. Slowly lift yourself back up the starting position, being sure to maintain the shoulders and back against the wall.