Core strength is often associated with the body’s mid-section, but a strong core encompasses much more than just a well-developed abdominal region. Strengthening your core means training every muscle that supports the spine and pelvis. Muscles in the pelvic area, sides, buttocks, abdomen, hips, and upper thighs act as a protective brace, helping to reinforce the spine and pelvis. A powerful core will also aid in developing a neutral spine position, which eases stress and pressure on the back, reducing pain and discomfort.
Weak core muscles can make daily tasks a struggle, especially as we age and spine health often declines. A strong core can help us do everyday tasks like sitting up from a reclined position, standing up or reaching laterally from a seated position, bending down to pick up items from the floor, and can be vital to sustaining independence.
Consider practicing these suggested exercises below to regain and improve core strength. Remember, it’s important to maintain slow controlled movements, and give your body time to recover in between sets. Consulting with a personal trainer or physical therapist will help ensure your form is correct with each of the exercises to ensure optimal benefits.
- Plank Progression: SCPT’s Plank Progression is a fantastic beginner core exercise that walks you through three beneficial variations including knees bent, prone plank, and side plank. Elevating your body off the floor engages muscles all over the body including your back, hips, and shoulders. Begin with repetitions of 15 to 30 seconds, and increase the timeframe as the exercise becomes easier.
- Bridge Variations: SCPT has combined three simple Bridge Variations to increase hip and core strength. Each variation targets the lower back, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and gluteus muscles. Begin with the double leg variation, and move onto the march and single leg exercises, which will challenge your stability and increase your balance over time.
- Inchworms: SCPT team members love the Inchworm exercise (also referred to as Plank Walkouts), because it offers a total body workout that will engage important core muscles like the rectus abdominis, obliques, trapezius, and lower back. Also, you’ll build upper body strength by targeting the triceps and deltoid muscles.
With these focused exercises, you’ll be well on your way to a stronger and more resilient core, and your body will thank you. Please contact SCPT if you have any questions, and we’ll be happy to walk you through your workout. If you experience any pain or shortness of breath while engaging in a physical activity, discontinue the exercise, and contact your healthcare provider immediately.