When you hear the word “core” you probably immediately think of your abs, right? Your core definitely includes your abs but it also includes your lower back and hips.
The “core” area of your body is your center of gravity and it’s important to have a strong, stable core for everyday life. Walking, reaching, bending . . . all important movements that your core allows you to do.
Plus, a strong core helps prevent injury and ensures a more efficient workout overall.
5 Moves to Strengthen Your Core
Lie face down in push up position. Place forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width. With flexed feet, rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor — your body should hover a few inches off the floor in a straight line from shoulders to feet. Hold for ten seconds (or longer!) and repeat the sequence twice more.
Lie straight and face down on the floor. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you. This is the starting position. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor and hold this contraction for 2 seconds. When holding the contracted position, you should look like superman when he is flying. Repeat 5 times.
Lie flat on the ground with your arms by your sides. Raise your legs as high as you can while keeping them both straight and together. Lift your torso up towards your thighs so you form a V-shape. Keep your back straight and remain smooth and controlled. Hold this contracted position as long as you can keep your V-shape form before returning to the floor.
4. Hip Lifts — Bridge
Lie flat on the floor on your back with the hands by your side and your knees bent. Rotating your pelvis and tailbone down, tighten your core muscles. Pushing with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. Hold this elevated contraction for 10 seconds before slowly lowering back to the floor. Repeat 5 times.
5. Lunge to Balance
Start with a solid standing posture with your feet under your hips, abs engaged, and your hips tucked under. From there, lunge forward. On the way back, lift your knee and bring it toward your chest so you’re standing on one leg. Tighten your whole core and hold it. Return your foot to the starting position. Repeat lunge on the same leg 5-10 times. Repeat for the series for the other leg lunging forward.
Start these functional core exercises now to improve your workouts. Plus, a strong core (along with the added benefit of the balance practice in the lunge to balance exercise) will allow you the stability and strength to not slip when you walk across an unanticipated patch of ice this winter!