A big buzzword in the fitness industry the last several years has been “core strength.” The term CORE refers to the trunk (the thorax and abdomen). Core strength is important because the trunk is the base from which the limbs work. A weak core means a weak body, and while the vertebral column is created for mobility, it suffers if the supportive muscles are too weak to protect it from overuse.
Following are a group of exercises designed to strengthen the core:
(Also see post on Core Exercises with Swill Ball)
Lying with knees bent, hold a playground ball between knees and rotate both knees to one side. Keep your shoulders flat on the floor throughout the exercise. Then rotate toward the other side. If you want to get the most out of it, cross your arms over your chest, and don’t use them to help push your body from side to side. To make this one more challenging, try holding your hips just slightly off the floor as you rotate from side to side.
This is the beginning position for many of the exercises to follow. Lie on your back with knees bent, and try to pull your belly button downward toward the floor. Hold this position, but keep breathing with the upper abdominals. Hold 10 seconds, while breathing, then relax the muscles, and begin again!
The above are sequential exercises for abdominal strengthening. Begin on your back with knees bent. Next lift elbow to meet opposite knee. Repeat to other side. Do not use quick forceful movements, and do not hold your breath. Work slowly, and repeat to each side a number of times until tired. Do not do these exercises if they cause pain.
Try lying on your back as in the previous exercises and straightening one leg. Keep the upper thigh in parallel with the other thigh. Now, lift your hips off the table. Hold for 5, then hips down, foot down, switch legs, and begin again! Don’t forget to keep breathing!!
PLANKING! or so it is called, means keeping your trunk stiff while supported at either end. Now HOLD that! For our purposes, keep breathing–lol! After 30 seconds, relax, and then plank again! Good luck~!
There are many, many variations on these exercises. These are a few to get you started! Good for toning, and stability.