Have you ever wanted a quick and easy way to strengthen your entire body but don’t have time to spend countless hours at the gym every day? Well, I have good news for you. What if I told you that there was only one muscle group you needed to focus on to improve the strength of your entire body?
The one muscle group that has a significant influence on your entire body is your core! Your core consists of a group of muscles that wrap around your waist. These include your abdominal, oblique, gluteal, and lower back muscles.
The primary reason your core is so important is one word…stability. Ever wonder why a tall, healthy tree doesn’t topple over while it grows? It’s because it has a large trunk at its base keeping it STABLE. We want this same type of stability from our core.
However, unlike a tree, we can survive with a weak core. What we do to compensate is stick out our butt, let our gut hang forward, and hunch over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. This position, also known as lower/upper cross syndrome, not only looks bad, it is very hard on our bodies. We can’t take full breaths, our back strains, our spinal cord is compromised, and we are uncomfortable.
Virtually any type of movement, lift, or pull requires activation and stabilization from your core. Without stabilization, your other muscle groups will have very little leverage to accomplish an action.
To get your core muscles back in shape, all you need is 10-15 minutes 3-4 times per week and some persistence! Below we are going to go over four simple exercises you can do to strengthen your entire core.
One thing to keep in mind, each muscle group has their own function. Some muscles are all about power and explosive strength while others are about consistent maintained stability. What this means is core exercises are all about keeping those muscles active and working for an extended period. That is what these exercises will have you do so once you get into the proper position, hold it!
- The plank is the gold standard for core exercises. Starting on the ground lying face down, prop yourself up on your elbows and toes.
- Focus Points: Keep your legs, butt, back, shoulders, and head completely flat.
- Once in this position, hold for one minute.
- Modified: Use your knees instead of your toes.
- Start on the ground and prop yourself up on an elbow. From here you will raise your body so only the side of your foot and elbow/forearm are touching the ground.
- Focus Points: Keep a straight line through your ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and ear.
- Hold this position for 45 seconds on each side.
- Modified: Start on the side of your knee instead of your foot.
- Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Let your arms rest on either side of your body and keep your neck relaxed. From here you are going to tighten your glutes and raise your hips as far as you can, comfortably. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then slowly let your hips back down, once your glutes are back on the ground go back up again.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Finally, we have the Superman. Lying on your stomach, reach out your arms straight in front of your head. From here, arch your back and lift your arms and legs. Hold this position for 10 seconds and relax.
- Repeat 10 times.
If you are new to core exercises or haven’t done any in a while, then you are done! If you want a more intense session, cycle through these four exercises again. With these four simple exercises, you are sure to strengthen your core and get that stability back!
Want to learn more core strengthening exercises? Not sure if your aches or pains are from a weak core? Contact us or check us out at Exuberance Chiropractic & Wellness Center and we can make sure you are on the right track!