If you are looking for information about how to effectively strengthen your abdominal muscles without causing your back pain, you may have encountered contradictory advice from other sources – friends, trainers or others. I would like to explain that bodies move as a result of muscles connected as chains, or loops – that is to say, as an integral whole. If you try to isolate specific muscle groups, including your abdominal muscles, you will not have ideal results. The task of the physiotherapist is to teach his/her client how to correctly hold his/her trunk (good posture – which includes the spine, chest, shoulders, pelvis, and hips), which is not easy when one is accustomed to having bad posture and a sedentary job.
My clients are often shocked when I don’t ask them to start on a regime of sit-ups or “crunches,” and when they learn that you can effectively activate your abdominal muscles simply by prolonged exhalation, even while sitting in your office. Your abdominal muscles are used during nearly every movement, as long as your body is held correctly. I often find that people often have inflexible (stiff) chests, inhale into the space under their collar bones (clavicles), and have almost undetectable exhalations.
If you would like to start activating all of your abdominal muscles, and not just one muscle, I would recommend you start with diaphragmatic breathing.