This exercise is a must in your toolbox when it comes to spinal stability. The exercise can be used early on in the rehab process as they are not axial loading. We’ve occasionally used a small Swiss Ball under the chest to give support to those who are really struggling, then air is progressively let out of the ball until it can be removed.
The key with this exercise is to keep the pole level by flexing the elbows. As soon as the client locks the elbows out they cheat the exercise by placing the stress through the shoulder girdle. When the elbows are flexed the stress must go through the torso musculature to maintain stability. This engages all the muscles needed to stabilise the spine, not just the core. By doing this we begin to teach the client how good alignment is achieved and maintained. The proprioception the pole gives is therefore one of the most important aspects of the exercise to learn good technique.