A strong core and pelvic floor is the answer to having a healthy, supported, and mobile body and spine—now and in the future. That's why I regularly incorporate core-focused movements in B The Method, a fitness method I founded that focuses on low-impact, deep, energizing, and restorative exercises.
Below, I've shared six of my favorite core stability exercises that I regularly recommend to clients (including mbg co-founder and co-CEO Colleen Wachob).You can easily do all of these beneficial moves at home—all you need is a yoga mat and a phthalate-free stability ball.
These are also some of the many exercises you'll find on my new B The Method fitness app and online platform, where users can gain access to hours of unique restorative yet challenging classes as well as livestreaming. Both platforms offer thoughtful, purposeful full-body workouts in 15-, 30-, and 60-minute sessions and are now available (as of today!) to everyone, everywhere for a monthly or yearly subscription.
To get a sneak peek at some of the movements you'll experience through B The Method, try these core exercises individually, or together for a full sequence:
Stability neutral pelvis marching
How to: Lie on the ground and place the ball directly under your tailbone (not your lower back). Keep your spine straight, making sure the abdominals don't slouch down to the floor, and lift legs up to a tabletop position. Make sure your shoulders and head are relaxed, and rest arms on either side of your torso. Keeping both knees bent at 90 degrees, lower one leg toward the floor until your foot hovers a few inches off the ground. Return to start. That's one rep. Complete 3 sets of 5 reps per leg.
How to: Lie on the ground with knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor. Place the ball between your shoulder blades, keep your chest lifted, and place your arms behind your head. Keep your neck relaxed and spine neutral. With your legs still bent at 90 degrees, lift one foot off the ground until your shin is parallel to the floor. Lower it with control to start. That's one rep. Complete 3 sets of 5 reps per leg.
Tabletop marching with neck support
How to: Lie on the ground and place the ball under the nape of your neck like a pillow. Bend your elbows and place hands around either side of the ball. Bring your legs to a tabletop position. Then, keeping both knees bent at 90 degrees, dip one leg toward the floor. Then return to start. Keep your spine and pelvis neutral, and allow the abdominals to control the movement. Don't lower your leg so far that your back arches. That's one rep. Complete 3 sets of 5 reps per leg.
Supported lower-back marching
How to: Begin seated on the ground with knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor, and a slight hinge in your hips. Place the ball under your lower back. Raise your arms in the air and hold. Without tucking or arching your spine, lightly press up on the ball using your abdominals for support. Keeping your heels energetically pulling back toward your glutes, and legs bent at 90 degrees, lift one foot off the ground until your shin is parallel to the floor. Try to "turn off" the hip flexors and quads as you lift your leg, allowing the abdominals to control the movement. Return to start. That's one rep. Complete 3 sets of 5 reps per leg.
Plank flow with open hips
How to: Start in a high plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, and a ball in between your heels. Press through your arms, pulling your body backward until your seat is over your heels, with knees bent and open wide. Then press back into a plank. That's one rep. Complete 3 sets of 5 reps.
Plank flow in parallel
How to: Start in a high plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and a ball between your knees. Press through your arms, pulling your body backward until your seat is over your heels, with knees bent. Keep your legs parallel the entire time, squeezing the ball between your knees. Then press back into a plank. That's one rep. Complete 3 sets of 5 reps.
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Lia Bartha is a certified classically trained Pilates Instructor of over 10 years, based in New York City. Born in Hawaii with scoliosis, she was introduced to Pilates while working a corporate that took a major toll on her back. It didn't take long for her entire perspective on fitness to change forever, thanks to private Pilates instruction. And two kids later, she also started to understand the need for functional strength and a strong pelvic floor.
Bartha realized exercising needed to be more than just how it made you look on the outside. It needed to be meditative and releasing, while also lengthening and toning the body. She created and developed B The Method to help people look a little deeper inside themselves, mentally and physically, and tap into a deeper layer of the body to strengthen and lengthen, starting from the inside.