Core strength is the buzz word these days, but very few people know what it actually is. When you think of the core, abs automatically come to mind. However the core muscles actually consist of all the muscles that run the length of the trunk and the torso. This includes a ton of ab, back, hip and pelvis muscles. Having a strong core doesn’t mean having wash board abs. It means being able to stabilize the spine, pelvis and the shoulder. Having a good core of support in this area will mean powerful movements are a breeze.
My Top 5 Core Strength Exercises
There are a lot of exercises that will help you increase your core strength. In fact if you perform most free weight exercises (like the squat) properly then you will often activate these muscles and should in general have decent core strength. However, many of us can use a little extra work. Especially those that are more sedentary or sit at a desk all day. Think about the position you are in and the fact that your muscles are vary pliable. These five core strength exercises for women and men can be done at home.
It is fair to say that I love prone holds and I’m not ashamed to say it. These are a great exercise for a lot of muscles in your core and have a direct correlation with back pain. In a really good way. If you suffer from lower back pain, mastering the prone hold will help you reduce it in a big way. The great thing about this exercises is there are so many variations you can do. I’ll show you two important ways you can perform it to get the maximum results.
1. Standard. This is the standard prone hold and is the one you need to start with. Get yourself in this position, and hold it for as long as you can until you feel your form break. Concentrate on keeping your butt neutral and your shoulder blades squeezed in together.
2. To the side. This is a great variation to challenge those core muscles further. If you struggle to hold this position, you can start by working on your knees. Hold it as long as you can without breaking form.
Anyone who has read Laurens Fitness more than once can understand that the bridge and I have a special relationship. This is the ultimate butt builder and does wonders for your core muscles on the back side of your body. Press up through your heels until your body is a straight line. Hold it there for a moment before coming back down. You can do it with one or two legs, depending on your level. Start with two, and if you can easily do more than 15 then it is time to move onto one leg.
I honestly have no idea why they are called bird dogs, but I like them. These are great for the posterior side but will also hit those muscles controlling the shoulder girdle. Start on all fours and slowly raise your opposite arm and leg. Once the are straight and extended, hold them there for a second before dropping them back down. Repeat on the other side. If it seems really easy to you, hold for a second longer.
This adds some rotation to your core workout and focuses mostly on the abdominal muscles. I really like it as I find it challenges my obliques. Sit in a V position as shown and hold a book or a plate. Holding your legs off the floor and keeping your body at a constant angle off the ground, slowly rotate your arms to either side. You can try to touch the floor with your book or plate.
Static Spiderman Walk
I like this as it is another exercise in the prone position, which is great for shoulder work as well as getting a lot of the abdominal and hip flexor muscles involved. Starting in a push up position you should bring your knee up as far as you can to your elbow. Alternate sides.
These are my top 5 core strength exercises… what are your favourites?
Don’t forget to check out a whole lot more at home exercises here!