Core strength exercises are so much more than sit-ups and wanting to get a six pack, it is essential for developing and maintaining great form whilst performing other strength-training exercises and other day-to-day tasks.
The exercises below are a great way of adding some extra core power to your workout and can be performed three or four times a week.
In all of the core strength exercises, imagine zipping a tight pair of jeans up, so that your pelvic floor muscles engage (feel like the pelvic floor muscles are lifting up) and cause your belly button to tuck in slightly closer to the spine.
This engagement is done at approximately 30% – why? Have a go at pulling up the pelvic floor muscles to 100% – it may feel like you can’t breathe fully!
1. Box position knee lifts (A good start before the plank – to switch the abdominals on!)
Box position – knees under hips, wrists under shoulders, core engaged, spine and neck lengthened.
Keeping the box position, just lift your knees a couple of inches off the floor, engaging your deep core muscles. Hold and breathe!
2. Box position swimming (Great for connecting to the relationship between core strength and pelvis stability.)
Start in a neutral box position.
Option 1. Slide the leg back along the mat and lengthen leg, coming to a natural lift of the leg off the floor. No further than hip height, repeat on other side.
Option 2. Progress this exercise by lifting the opposite arm to leg, keep the pelvis stable throughout.
3. Single leg stretch (great for the deep abdominal muscles)
Knees gently to chest, shoulders off floor. Think about lengthening the tailbone away from the spine.
Option 1. One leg lengthens away from the body, bring back to neutral and repeat with other leg– think about moving the legs from the core.
Option 2. Lengthen leg out parallel to the floor. If you feel this in your lower back stick to option 1.
4. Reverse Plank (Good for strengthening upper body and lower back)
Start position, keep spine and neck long. Knees in line with hips.
Option 1. Lift the hips and use the core to stay stable. Stay for 10 seconds with focus on breath. Rest 10 seconds and repeat if ready.
Option 2. Lengthen out the legs, keeping the hips lifted. 10 seconds in exercise, 10 seconds rest and repeat if ready.
Rest in a child pose position to release the lower back.