The Exercise Program that Changed My Life with Ankylosing Spondylitis
After seven years of doing Foundation Training, I discovered the exercises that are the most beneficial for what I face on a daily basis living with Ankylosing Spondylitis. The exercises listed below have decreased my pain and stiffness associated with AS more than any other type of exercise or movement I have ever tried. My nightly routine consists of the lunge decompression, woodpecker, woodpecker rotation, woodpecker integrated hinge, anchored back extension, founder, and seated decompression.
The lunge decompression relieves that constant achy, exhausted, and pressed down feeling in the spine that I feel from sitting too long.
The woodpecker strengthens my lower, middle, and upper back muscles and relieves the pain throughout my spine.
The woodpecker rotation helps relieve pain in my hips and upper spine.
Throughout my life, the area of my body that I have experienced some of the worst pain is in my right sacroiliac joint that will radiate to my right gluteal crease. This area of pain is right where my gluteal muscle meets my hamstring muscle. The woodpecker integrated hinge is the most powerful exercise I have ever done to relieve pain in this area, especially when I do the exercise every day. The woodpecker integrated hinge strengthens my gluteal muscles and the muscles around my hip joints, and not only decreases my gluteal pain, but my sacroiliac and hip pain as well. I do at least one set a day and ten repetitions on each side with the woodpecker integrated hinge exercise. I make sure to do the repetitions very slow and controlled, which decreases my gluteal, sacroiliac, and hip pain even more.
The anchored back extension greatly reduces the pain and stiffness in my low back and sacroiliac joint area because of how much this exercise strengthens my low back muscles.
The founder relieves the achy feeling in the area of my low back because this exercise also strengthens my low back muscles. The founder also relieves the achy feeling in my middle and upper back from strengthening the muscles around my spine.
I do the seated decompression at night while sitting on the edge of my bed right before I go to sleep. This exercise helps me achieve two goals. One is that it helps increase my chest expansion, which I greatly need because of how Ankylosing Spondylitis tries to force my body into a hunched over position, which can greatly reduce my chest expansion. Two is that the deep breathing with this exercise not only helps supply more oxygen to my body and brain, but also helps me calm down and relax for better sleep.
Occasionally there are days when I will do the lunge decompression, woodpecker integrated hinge, and founder one or two times throughout the day when I have to sit for long periods of time. Other days I will do two or three founders throughout the day. Founders are a great exercise to do throughout the day because this exercise can be performed almost anywhere, and it counters the stress put in my low back from excessive sitting.
What I have come to find out is that if I do all of the exercises listed above at least once a day every day, the benefits add up and my pain and stiffness remains at a very low level. Remembering to do an exercise routine on a daily basis can be difficult, but I have found that it is easier to remember if the exercises are performed at the same time each day. For me the best time to do my foundation training exercise routine is at night before bed.
When I first started doing foundation training exercises almost seven years ago, I would make sure to do at least one exercise every day. A good way to get started with foundation training would be to start with one exercise, and learn that exercise very well for a few days or weeks before moving to a second one. Then do two exercises for a few days or weeks before moving on to a third exercise, until all foundation training exercises listed above are mastered.
Click on the following link to access the foundation training exercises:
The information above is intended to supplement, not replace, the advice of a trained health professional. If you know or suspect that you have a health problem, you should consult a health professional. The author and publisher of the above information specifically disclaim any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, that is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the information on this site.
The information on this site is meant to supplement, not replace, proper exercise training. All forms of exercise pose some inherent risks. Each individual is advised to take full responsibility for their safety and know their limits. Before practicing the exercises mentioned above, do not take risks beyond your level of experience, aptitude, training, and fitness. The exercises mentioned are not intended as a substitute for any exercise routine that may have been prescribed by your doctor. As with all exercise programs, you should get your doctor’s approval before beginning.