5 Foam Roller Exercises To Strengthen Your Core

You may think of your foam roller as just a tool to help soothe your achey muscles, but it's actually a great piece of equipment to add to your core workouts as well. Adding an unstable surface, such as a foam roller increases the demand on the core stabilizers. These muscles help to support your posture and protect your spine. These exercises will put you on the fast track to building a solid foundation.

Be sure to check with your health care professional before you try these, especially if you've had an injury.

1. Dying Bug

Photo: Dan O'Grady

Lie on the foam roller with your head and hips supported. Maintain neutral spine (slightly arch your lower back) and slowly bring the right hand to the left knee. Slowly extend the arm and leg away from the body. Repeat 10 times on each side.

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2. Heel Taps

Maintain a neutral spine (slightly arch your lower back) while slowing dropping one heel down to touch the ground. Keep the same angle in the knee throughout the entire movement. Place your hands on your chest for more of a challenge. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

3. Bridge

Keep arms by your side and push down through the heels, lifting the hips up into a full-bridge position. Keep your knee, hip and shoulder aligned, but don’t overextend your spine. Hold for three breaths, feeling a contraction through the gluteals (back of the hips). Repeat 5 times. If you feel your hamstrings over-activating, bring the roller closer to your hips.

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4. Plank

Rest your forearms on the roller and lift into a plank. Relax your neck and shoulders. Hold for three deep breaths. For more intensity, gently move roller up and down with your arms, without moving your spine

5. Knee Stretch

Keep your spine in neutral while you move the roller up and down, hinging at your hips. Use your abdominals to control the roller.

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