Basic Exercises For Core Strength
When I mention the word “core”, I’m talking about your center- your abdomen and lower back muscles, which are the core of your physique. You might be wondering what exactly is core strength and why should I be concerned about it? One reason is, that all of our movements are powered by the torso. The abs and back work synergistically to support the spine.
You are only as strong as your core and it’s very difficult to achieve fitness goals if you fail to keep your core strong and in shape.
Benefits of Core Training:
- Reduces risk of injury
- Eliminates back pain
- Helps with balance
- Promotes good posture
- Boosts your strength
- Interesting workouts that challenge you
There are tons of exercises and fitness programs on the market these days with a heavy emphasis on core training. If you belong to a gym or fitness center that offers a core training class, I would encourage you to take one, if not, doing exercises at home on your own or with a video is just as easy.
Here are a three basic core exercises that can be added to any workout routine.
Planks. Get into the top position of a push-up and hold your back and abs straight and tight. Focus on tightening your abs and back muscles. If you are having problems with your arms extended out, an alternative would be to hold the plank on your elbows. This position is also good of you have bad wrists. Start out by holding this isometric pose for at least 20 seconds and build up to 2 minutes.
Back Extensions. Lie down on the floor on your stomach and lace your fingers behind your head. Slowly extend your chest and head off of the floor and hold for a few seconds. Lower slowly and repeat. Avoid doing this movement quickly. You will be surprised how much stronger this movement makes your core muscles. I suggest 15-20 repetitions.
Side Plank. Lie on side on mat. Place forearm on mat under shoulder perpendicular to body. Place upper leg directly on top of lower leg and straighten knees and hips. Raise body upward by straightening waist so body is ridged. Hold position for at least 15 seconds and build up to 1 minute. Repeat with opposite side. Muscles are exercised isometrically. Movement can also be performed dynamically, moving hip up and down.
In the video below is an example of the Side Plank exercise.