When you hear the term “core,” abdominal muscles may immediately come to mind. However, the core actually comprises much more than just the abs. The core includes all the deep and superficial muscles used to stabilize, align, and move the trunk of the body as well as the pelvis and hips.When you strengthen your core, it sets you up for fitness success, while a weak core puts you at risk for injury.
Sadly, a whopping 80% of the adult population experiences chronic lower back pain (LBP). In a great many cases, a weak, unstable core is the hidden cause. People with LBP may greatly benefit from core stabilization exercises, experiencing relief of symptoms and improved quality of life.
Beginner Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
- The Floor Bridge – Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms stretched out to the side. Draw in and brace, especially in the glutes, while lifting your pelvis and low back off the floor slowly. Be careful not to hyperextend your spine. Hold for a few seconds, and then slowly lower down to the floor back to the starting position. Perform 10-12 reps.
- The Plank – One of the best ways to strengthen your core! Lie on your stomach on the floor with your feet together and your forearms on the ground. Lift up into the plank position (onto your forearms and toes). Focus on being straight as a board from head to toe. Keep your chin tucked down and your back flat and neutral. Keep your body tight, and breathe normally. Hold for at least 10 seconds, then lower down. Perform 10-12 reps.
- The Prone Cobra – Lie on your stomach on the floor with your arms at your sides. Contract your glutes and move your shoulder blades together. Keeping your head and chest aligned, lift your head and chest off the floor, looking down with a tucked chin. Lift the arms a bit as well. Keep your feet on the floor! Hold for 3-5 seconds, then slowly lower back to the floor. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
*Please consult your physician before starting any new exercises.