Floor Cobra with Dumbbell
This is a great exercise for people with low back problems (arthritis, herniations, etc.), because it strengthens muscles necessary to protect your back and spine. This is a progression of a floor crunch that is more focused on building strength. If your back is acting up or you cannot perform the movement without pain, it becomes counterproductive and should be avoided until things improve.
Start lying face down on the ground and hold a dumbbell in both hands, just under your neck. The goal is to use your low and mid back muscles to raise your upper body off the ground. This exercise is all about creating strong muscular contractions in postural muscles and should be slow and controlled throughout. This exercise doesn’t need to have much range of motion. Even lifting slightly off the ground is effective if the right muscles are working.
Also, keep your head and neck in a straight line (do not bend your neck back when your lift up). Stop if you feel pain or excess tightness in the low back. Perform 15 reps and breathe our when you are rising up off the ground.