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A simple breathing drill called the Lewit may protect your lower back from injury, say researchers at the University of Waterloo. They found that the exercise – which focuses on forceful “power breathing” – substantially stiffens the entire abdominal wall.
“Using the Lewit as a corrective exercise can help you maintain a safer neutral back posture during moves like the deadlift and kettlebell swing,” says study coauthor Professor Stuart McGill.
“That’s because it trains all your abdominal muscles to better stabilise your spine and pelvis, focusing the movement at your hips, not your lower back.” Keen to try it?
Lie on your back on the floor and bend both your hips and your knees 90 degrees, keeping a natural arch in your lower back. Now simply breathe – and as you reach the end of a normal exhalation, purse your lips, making a very small hole, then forcefully expel as much air as you can.
Repeat just a few times.