Core Strengthening Exercises

Core strengthening or core stability is the name given to the strengthening of the corset of muscles surrounding the back and abdomen. Having a good core can help prevent injury and more importantly improve performance. Here we explain core strengthening and demonstrate beginners, intermediate and advanced exercises.

What are core strengthening exercises?

  • Core stability is the name given to the strengthening of the corset of muscles surrounding the back and abdomen.
  • Strengthening exercises for core muscles are popular with elite and amateur level athletes for injury prevention and enhanced performance.
  • The muscles of the core are known as the powerhouse muscles and provide a solid base upon which all other muscles can work upon to initiate movement.

Read more on the core muscles.


How to contract the core muscles

  • Correct technique is essential to benefit from core strengthening exercises.
  • This is the first stage of learning core stability exercises and sets the stage for all subsequent strengthening techniques.
  • Trying to rush exercises without contracting your core correctly will not give the same benefits.

Read more on how to contract the core muscles.


Beginners core strengthening exercises

Here we demonstrate some beginners introductory core strengthening exercises which are suitable for all levels and promote core stability and strength.

video

Next: Intermediate exercises

Foot lift exercise.

Core strengthening exercises

Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core. Inhale again and as you exhale raise one foot a couple of inches off the floor, keeping the knee bent. Inhale and bring your foot back to the floor. Repeat this on alternate legs.

Hip flexion core exercise

Core strengthening exercises

Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core. Inhale again and as you exhale lift one foot off the floor, bringing the knee towards the chest. When you reach 90 degrees of hip flexion, straighten the knee. Return back to the start position by bending the knee and then extending the hip until the foot is on the floor again. Repeat 5-10 times, alternating legs.

Knee extension exercise

Core strengthening exercises

Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core. Inhale again and as you exhale raise one foot just off the floor and straighten the leg out. Inhale, bend the knee and place the foot back on the floor. Repeat this on alternate legs.

Single leg fall out exercise

Single leg fall out exercise

Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core. Inhale again and as you exhale allow your left leg to fall out. Keep your heel and outer surface of your foot on the floor and your knee bent. No other movement except that of the hip should occur. Try and minimize any hip rolling or arching of the back. Inhale and bring your leg back to the center. Exhale and let your right leg fall out to the side. Repeat 5-10 times each leg.

Toe pointing core stability exercise

While sitting on the mat stabilize yourself with your arms out behind you, hands on the floor. Bend your knees up so that your feet are on the floor. Your body and your arms should be at 45 degrees with the floor and 90 degrees to each other. You should now be sitting on your tail bone. Take a breath to prepare and set your core. Raise one foot off the floor and point your toes away from you. Make small circles with your foot. Imagine that you are drawing circles on the ceiling with your toes. Start with very small circles at first and gradually increase their size. Make 3-5 circles and bring your leg back to the rest position. Repeat 5-10 times in each direction


Next: Intermediate exercises

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.