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Chest Lift

Technique Cues
In step 2, at the beginning of the exhale, draw the abdominal wall in toward the spine to encourage use of the transversus abdominis just before using the other abdominalsrectus abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliquesto tilt the pelvis slightly posteriorly, and then flex the spine sequentially from top to bottom. Once the head has been lifted in step 2, keep the chin the same distance from the chest and focus on using the abdominals to bring the front of the lower rib cage down toward the front of the pelvis. To help target the abdominals, keep the elbows back in line with the shoulders as the trunk is raised into flexion. Avoid swinging the elbows forward, pulling on the head, or using excessive momentum to help raise the trunk. During the pause in step 3, focus on lateral breathing (see chapter 1) so that the abdominal wall can remain pulled in and the torso held at the same height despite the inhale. In step 4, use the abdominals to control lowering the trunk back to the start position. Focus on pressing one vertebra at a time sequentially into the mat, from the lower to the upper spine, as opposed to lowering rigid sections of the spine. Imagine. To help achieve the desired flexion of the spine in step 2, imagine the upper and middle trunk curving up and around an exercise ball, with the curve evenly distributed rather than exaggerated in any one region.

Start position.
Rectus abdominis E4827/Isacowitz/Fig.4.2a/377418/MollyB/R2 oblique External

Internal oblique Transversus abdominis

Step 2.



1. Start position. Lie supine with the knees bent and the feet flat on the mat and hip-width apart. Interlace the fingers behind the head, and bend the elbows so they point sideways. Tilt the chin slightly down toward the chest. 2. Exhale. Slowly curl the head and upper trunk up, as shown in the main muscle illustration, so that the scapulae lift off the mat while the back portion of the waistline establishes contact with the mat. Pull in the abdominal wall farther, deepening the forward curved position of the trunk. 3. Inhale. Pause. 4. Exhale. Slowly lower the trunk and head to return to the start position. Repeat the sequence 10 times.

Exercise Notes
This relatively simple exercise offers a perfect opportunity to learn how to effectively recruit the abdominals for strength gains and for use in more challenging abdominal exercises. Create a C curve. The key concept to remember is this: Since the abdominals span between the rib cage and pelvis, effective overload to the abdominals for this exercise entails maximal flexion from the upper back to the beginning of the lower back rather than excessive flexion of the neck or hips. Achieving the desired distributed curvature of the spine, while pulling the abdominal wall in so that it is as concave as possible, can be referred to as creating a C curve of the spine. This terminology will be used to simplify related exercise descriptions.

Targeted Muscles
Spinal flexors: rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique

As you lift into forward flexion, keep the pelvis in a neutral position instead of creating a slight posterior tilt. This will demand skilled cocontraction of the abdominals and spinal extensors.

Accompanying Muscles
Anterior spinal stabilizer: transversus abdominis