In my last blog I spoke about what the core is and why it is important.
I discussed the importance of not just emphasizing the rectus abdominis (the six-pack abs) but also the deeper abdominals, the muscles of the back, and the muscles around the pelvis.
You saw that doing a ton of sit ups and having a six pack does not equal a strong core. So how do we strengthen the core? Here are a few basic core exercises that will help support your back and make physical activities easier.
Do each exercise 5-10 times. As you get stronger, build up to 2-3 sets of 10. If you have any back pain, osteoporosis, or any other health concerns, talk to you doctor or see a physical therapist before starting these exercises.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent (A). Keep your back in a neutral position. Do not try to flatten your back or arch it. Tighten your abdominal muscles.
- Raise your hips off the floor until your hips, knees and shoulders are aligned (B). Hold for three seconds.
- Return to the start position and repeat.
- Lie down on you back with your back in a neutral position.
- Tighten you abs and bring your legs up (one at a time) with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees.
- Hold position for 30 seconds. As you get stronger increase to 1 minute. Do 2-3 sets.
*Variation: Straighten your arms above you for an added challenge
- Lie on your stomach
- Raise yourself up so that you are resting on your elbows and toes, making sure to keep the spine neutral.
- Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat.
*If this is too difficult, you can rest on your knees instead of your toes.
- Lie on your left side, raising yourself onto your left forearm (A). Place your left shoulder directly above your left elbow, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees in alignment. Rest your right arm along the side of your body.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat on your right side.