Intermediate Core Strengthening Exercises

Here we demonstrate some Intermediate core strengthening exercises which are suitable for most athletes who are comfortable doing the beginners ones.

The Bridge

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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 set your core. As you exhale gently lift your tailbone off the mat and continue to peel your back off the ground so that you come to rest with your back in line with your thighs. Inhale and as you exhale, lower yourself down on to the mat- again try and roll so that your tailbone comes onto the mat last. Repeat 5-10 times

The Clam

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Lie on your side. Rest your head on your arm or hand as shown. Bend hips to approximately 45 degrees and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure one hip is lying above the other. You should now be well aligned- your feet should be in line with your back. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale set your core muscles. Inhale and whilst exhaling float the upper leg upwards while keeping your feet in contact with one another. Inhale and as you exhale bring the leg down to the starting position. Repeat 5- 10 times each leg. If done correctly you should feel the muscles around the back of the hip bone (gluteus medius and minimus) working hard. Focus on not allowing the alignment of the body to be disrupted with leg movement.

Hip Flexion

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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 raise one leg up, keeping the knee bent, so your knee moves towards your chest. Inhale and while you exhale lower your leg down to the resting position again. Take care not to allow your pelvis to rock or your back to arch. Your midsection should be solid and move with the leg movements. Alternate legs.

Prone straight leg raise

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This is another exercise that is carried out on your front and is aimed to stress the posterior (back) muscles, in particular, the gluteals while engaging the core. There is a large tendency with this exercise to arch the back. Keep the back as straight as possible allowing only movement of the leg to occur.

Lie on your front with your forehead resting on a pillow or your hands. Place a pillow under your stomach if this is uncomfortable. Your legs should be straight out on the floor. Inhale to prepare and as you exhale set your core. While keeping your back straight float one leg up off the ground and hold for a breath. Bring the leg down to the mat and repeat with the opposite leg.

Single leg stretch

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This exercise tests your hand/foot coordination while testing your core with movements in opposite directions. Try not to allow any arching of the back when you bring your hands over your head. Maintain a fluid movement with your breathing so that your feet and arms move in unison. Steady and rhythmic breathing in time is the key to this exercise.

Lie flat on your back with one knee and hip bent up whilst the other is straight and flat on the floor. Start with both arms stretched out above he head, on the floor. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core. Inhale again and as you exhale, raise the straight leg up, bending the knee towards the chest whilst at the same time bringing both arms forward over your head to meet your knee. Inhale again return the arms to the start position whilst straightening the leg. Repeat 5-10 times and then change legs.

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.