5 Moves to Build Your Core
Having a strong core is key in a lot of daily life activities - getting out of bed, walking, carrying the groceries in, and moving in general. A strong core enhances balance and stability which you need every single day. However, a strong core does not just stop at your abdominals; your low back is a part of your core as well. And if you are experiencing low back pain, that typically is a sign that your abdominals are weak yet your back muscles are strong and compensating. Building overall core strength will help bring balance to your abs and your back. So lets chat about my top 5 daily moves you can practice to strengthen your overall core. But remember... my biggest tip is to engage your transverse abdominals in everything you do - these are your deepest core muscle. They run from your rib cage down to your belly button. Focus on tightening and flexing that muscle throughout the day when you are performing day to day activities.
Five Moves to Strengthen Your Core
1. Plank - you should be planking everyday if you can! Try to increase your time by 5 seconds each day but it is key that you have good form while planking. To be in proper plank position, you should rest your forearms on the floor and have them be holding up your body weight while on your toes. Your shoulders should be directly above your elbows and your body should be in a straight line from your head down to your toes. Don't lower your neck while looking down at the floor - try to look about 6 inches out in front of your hands from proper neck position. Pull your abs in and squeeze that belly. Hold as long as you can without sacrificing form.
2. Push-Ups - daily! This exercise works not only your chest and arms, but your core as well. You can start with your knees on the floor as as you build up, go to your toes. Add 3 sets of 10 in to your daily routine while focusing on holding your core tight during the move.
3. Stomach vacuum - try this move 3 times for 30 seconds each every day! Standing upright, with your hands on your hips, blow all the air out of your lungs complete. Bring your stomach in as far as you can while expanding your chest. Hold this for 30 seconds and imagine trying to touch your belly button to your back. Release and breathe normally and then repeat.
4. Balance - if you can't make it to a yoga class, don't stress! Work on improving your balance a little bit throughout the day. You can do this by standing on one leg for 30 seconds and then switching to the other leg. Always remember to keep your abs engaged while you do this. This will force those muscles to work so that your body stays upright and in alignment. As your balance improves, you can try putting that leg out directly behind you and leaning forward. Try to hold each position as long as you can.
5. Squat - even without weights! When you are in squat position, a lot of work is put on your core to ensure you are stable and have balance. Always remember to hold that core tight when you go in to squat position. Complete 3 sets of 20 squats (bodyweight) each day to strengthen your overall core.
A strong core is so important! It will prevent injuries down the road and lead to better overall health. So practice these moves every day when you wake up or before you go to bed. And don't forget to STRETCH!