Your core is the center unit of your entire body. It stabilizes your spine, pelvis, ribs and shoulders, so it's no surprise that the stronger your core is, the more stable your movements and the healthier you'll be. Here are six great moves to help improve your core strength, while also bolstering your posture and stability.
1. Neutral Spine Lying Down
This is a foundational "move" to help set up your neutral spine.
Lying down, brace your core and imagine you're smiling through your collar bones. Relax your shoulders and focus on breathing into your belly.
2. Leg Lifts
With your neutral spine, lift your heels off the ground. Then lift one leg up at a time so knee is over hip. Rotate side to side maintaining neutral spine, relaxing your shoulders and breathing naturally. Make sure to brace your core the entire time to keep your back still and strong. Do 10 reps on each side.
3. Long Leg Lifts
Point your toes and set your neutral spine. Really bracing your core so your back doesn’t move, lift both legs up of the ground. As one leg lifts, lower the other. Do 10 reps on each side maintaining that strong, braced core and relaxed shoulders and breath.
4. Prone Hold
Start on your hands and knees, bracing through your middle. Push up from the ground and into your shoulder blades so your back is strong and long. Then, lift one knee up of the ground keeping back straight. Then the other leg. Imagine a glass of water on your back and keep you back as still as a table top.
5. Horse Stance
Brace your middle so your spine is like a table top. Keeping it very still, lift one arm up and slowly place it back down. Then repeat on the other side. There should be no movement through your back.
Next, try the same for you legs. Once you can do this without your back moving, combine opposite arm and leg. Do 10 reps on each side.
6. Plank Pointer
Set up your horse stance pointer as before, but this time come up onto your toes. Go through first by lifting one arm at a time, then one leg.
Once you can do this without moving your back, move onto doing opposite arm and leg at the same time. No movement should be happening through your back, imagine this time an expensive glass of wine! Don’t spill a drop!
Photo courtesy of the author
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. Owner and operator of foreverfit.tv and the online gym. Nicola teaches her members how to create real health and get in the best shape of their life by finding foods that work for them, exercising correctly and leading the lifestyle that inspires them. Find out more about Nicola here.