Core work has been on the “hot list” for the past few years. It’s a big buzz word, everyone wants to strengthen their core. What exactly is your core?
The core area is made up of your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. These muscles are vital in:
- Improving your balance and stability
- Makes activities of daily living (ADLs) easier
- Improves your athletic and fitness performance
Yoga and Pilates are fantastic forms of exercise to help strengthen the core area. Most exercises that are for the core are built from yoga asanas.
Here’s a list of the best exercises to strengthen your core:
Plank – simple but highly effective. Get into a push up position with arm and legs straight. Lower down to your forearms at a 90 degree angle. Tighten your abs, imagining pulling your belly button to your spine. Hold 30-75 seconds depending on your fitness level.
Side plank – another simple but effective move. Start by laying on your side. Bend arm at a 90 degree angle with forearm on the floor. Tighten abs and lift hips off the floor until only forearm and bottom foot touch the floor. Remember to keep your body in alignment. Hold for 30-75 seconds. Repeat on other side.
Bridge – Lie on your back with knees bent. Back stays in a neutral position. Tighten abs. Raise your hips off the floor until they are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold. Return to starting position. Repeat 15 times.
Super(wo)man – Lie in prone position on your stomach. Extend both arms straight out on the floor palms facing towards each other. Head is neutral with your spine. At the same time, raise both arms and legs a few inches off the ground. Hold for a count of three and release to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.
Bird Dog – Get on the ground on all fours position. Place hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips. Extend left arm straight out in front of you and right leg behind. Head is in alignment with your spine. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Slowly lower down and repeat on opposite side.
Core work should be done 3-5 days per week for optimal benefits. These five exercises can be done in less than 20 minutes. I like to do them in my living room at the end of the day while I’m catching up on what’s going on in t.v. land. There is no excuse why you can’t fit these simple exercises into your day. Enjoy!
Do you do specific core work?
What’s your favorite core move? Mine is the Bird Dog. I feel every muscle from my baby toes to scalp firing while doing that position.