A few years ago I had an operation to straighten my spine, so now I have rods in my back and I can't bend at all from just below my belly-button to inbetween my shoulder blades at the top.
I have recently started going to the gym in attempt to get back to full fitness and ideally strengthen my core to prevent any further back problems. I want to work out my abs, and have tried a couple of weight machine things that are designed to do that, but because of my lack of flexibility around the middle of my back I seem to end up using muscles much further down instead (sort of near my bladder/womb area i guess) and they get really sore from overuse.
I was wondering if anyone has any tips or methods that I can use to give my abs/core a good workout, without relying on being able to bend! :P i'm relatively new to the gym but will try anything to strengthen all my core muscles!
The plank will be good for you. Possibly deadlifts and squats but I would consult your doctor first and see if your back can handle those exercises. If they say yes then make sure your form is perfect before you try anything more than the bar.
Leg lift type things? When you either hang or somehow support yourself and lift your legs from a straight body to a right angle. I'm not sure if I'm explaining it properly. Or when you're lying down, here we go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ0u7B0fxAU
I'm not going to suggest any of the manly exercises that have just been suggested at all.
I kind of have the same problem (minus the metal rods), I have no movement in my spine whatsoever thanks to gymnastics and ballet, but as an ex-gymnast and dancer, I still feel the need to work out all the time.
I found a pilates instructor online, she does loads of ab workouts that my back can handle (and a few that my back can't) so I just do these. My abs have NEVER hurt so much in my life.
There is a lot of times when you're lying down on your back though, which is slightly uncomfortable for me, I'm not sure how it is for you, but with a yoga mat, it's fine.
would weighed leg raises work as an exercise? planking?
also don't worry about consulting your doctor as people are suggesting. I've had that operation and my doctor said not to worry about any exercise type stuff except not to do boxing. He said either it will be fine and not cause any damage or I physically won't be able to do it.