Advanced core strengthening exercises

These exercises are more advanced and require a higher level of strength in order to perform them with correct technique.

 

 

Front Crawl

This exercise specifically works the posterior muscles such as the Latissimus dorsi and gluteals to help align the body correctly. Try and keep your back as straight as possible- watch out for over-arching as you lift your leg above the ground.

  • Lie on your front with your forehead resting on a pillow. Place a pillow under your stomach if this is uncomfortable.
  • Your arms should be directly pointing away from your feet on either side of your head.
  • Inhale and set your core muscles.
  • Contract the buttocks (gluteal) muscles.
  • As you exhale, lift one leg off the ground a few inches, making sure that your knee is straight and your toes are pointing away from your body.
  • At the same time lift the opposite arm so that it hovers about 3 inches off the ground.
  • Hold for a breath and as you exhale float the leg and arm down and repeat with the opposite side
  • Repeat 5-10 times

 

 

The Plank

  • Start in a push up position and raise yourself so that your elbows are completely straight. Your hands should be facing directly forwards and you should be up on your toes. Your back should not be arched in any way.
  • Inhale and engage your core.
  • As you exhale, float one leg upwards so that it is in line with your back. Your toes on the raised leg should be pointing away from you and you should be in a position so that the back of your body represents a plank. Do not arch your back. You should feel your gluteal muscles kick in rather than putting strain on your back
  • Return the leg to the start position after one breath and repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Repeat 5-10 times each leg.

 

 

The Plank Progression

This is a highly challenging exercise that should only be attempted after achieving the initial plank exercise

  • Start in a push up position and raise yourself so that your elbows are completely straight. Your hands should be facing directly forwards and you should be up on your toes.
  • Inhale and engage your core.
  • As you exhale float one leg upwards so that it is in line with your back. Your toes on the raised leg should be pointing away from you and you should be in a position so that the back of your body represents a plank.
  • Now raise your opposite arm up and point your fingers away from the body.
  • Hold for a breath and return to the start position. Repeat with the opposite leg and arm
  • Repeat 5-10 times each side
  • Focus on your core muscles to maintain a static posture

 

 

Side Kicks Advanced

This is a superb exercise for challenging your balance and core whilst on your side.

  • Lie on your side resting your head on your arm/hand. Stabilize yourself with your upper hand on the mat in front of you.
  • Position your legs at about 45 degrees to the rest of your body. You can bend the lower one to help support you.
  • Inhale and as you exhale engage your core muscles
  • Now float your upper leg upwards and while keeping your leg straight, kick it out in front of you slowly.
  • You can gradually increase the speed as your control improves.
  • Take the leg out as far as is comfortable. You should feel this extremely challenging on your balance.

Pointers:

  • Make sure you keep your back aligned throughout the exercise
  • Avoid rocking back and forth. If it is too difficult only take the upper leg out a small distance.
  • To make this exercise more difficult place your upper hand on your waist.

 

 

Related articles:

How to contract the core muscles

Correct technique is essential to benefit from core strengthening exercises. This is the first stage of core stability exercises and sets the stage for all subsequent strengthening techniques. The...

Introduction to core strengthening

Core stability is the name given to the strengthening of the corset of muscles surrounding the back and abdomen. Here we explain core strengthening theory and provide an overview of the muscles...