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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 9: Quadruped Core Activation in Maximal Spinal Flexion

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

Purpose: To isolate and achieve maximal flexion mobility of the pelvis and lumbar spine through activation of primarily the internal obliques and transverse abdominis in a gravity assisted position.

What It Targets: Activation and Motor Control of the Transverse Abdominis, Internal Obliques, Serratus Anterior, Diaphragm, Rectus Abdominis, Iliacus, Psoas Major, Triceps, and Forearm Flexors; Stretching of the Thoracic Paraspinals; Expansion of the Posterior Mediastinum


  1. Assume the quadruped position with hands directly under shoulders, and knees directly under hips

  2. Tuck your pelvis underneath you and round your whole spine into flexion, with emphasis on the lumbar spine

  3. Fill in the valley often created in between your shoulder blades by pressing your palms into the table as you round your upper back

  4. Once in the maximum tuck, inhale calmly through your nose with the intention of filling your mid to upper back with air

  5. Exhale long and slow feeling the tension build in your sides and deep abdomen

  6. Challenge yourself to tuck your pelvis and lumbar spine further with each exhalation

  7. Repeat as prescribed, and don’t lose the pelvic tuck!

Main Cues:

  • Lumbar spine should be tucked as much as possible without any pain felt

  • Thoracic spine should be flexed as much as possible without any pain felt

  • Motion should be driven by the sides of the abdomen and deep core, not the “6 pack abs” (Rectus Abdominis)

  • The trunk should not move forward and backward and should only move up and down towards the ceiling/floor

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Pain in lower back

Correction: Decrease the degree/intensity of the posterior pelvic tuck to find a happy position for your low back

  • Pain in wrists

Correction: Place your hands into a fist to allow the wrists to maintain neutral

  • Loss of spinal flexion on the inhale

Correction: Decrease the intensity of the inhale

  • Too much tension in neck and upper traps

Correction: Think of pressing your palms into the floor using the muscles in your armpits rather than tops of shoulders

  • Trunk is moving forwards and backwards with each breath

Correction: Keep knees stacked directly below hips, and hands directly below shoulders the entire time

Why We Love It:

  • Allows for achievement of maximal lumbar and pelvic flexion in a gravity minimized position

  • Allows unrestricted expansion of the posterior mediastinum cavity

  • Connects upper and lower body via full activation of the deep core with attachments on the ribcage and the pelvis

  • Establishes a Zone of Apposition for more efficient firing of the diaphragm

*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.


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