Core Strengthening Exercises
There are many core strengthening exercises! Here at Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness, we have several favorites. We like these exercises best because they are simple and effective. We also want people to remember that the core is made up of more than just the abs. The core is on the front, back, and sides of us. Strengthening all parts of the core can create stability and help to decrease pain when caused by imbalances in the body.
A common core strengthening exercise that requires good abdominal strength and co-contraction of the abdominal wall muscles to hold the lumbar spine and pelvis in place. The muscles targeted in this exercises are the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, and internal obliques. Technique: Hold a straight body position, supported by the elbows and toes. Brace the abs and set the low back in neutral position once you are up. Keep the shoulders back and the chest out, while maintaining the neutral back and pelvis. Sometimes this requires a pelvic tilt to find the right position. The aim is to hold this position, keeping the upper spine extended. This position should is held stable for an increasing amount of time for up to 60 seconds. Shaking or losing good form is time to rest, reset, and begin the next set.
Start on the hands and knees position. The first step is to carefully arch your back raising it as high as you can. This is the cat position. Hold in this raised position for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax. Next step is to is to gently sag your back towards the floor as low as you can. This is the camel position. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds. While performing the motions, the height of the hips and shoulders should not change, stretch the back high and low between them.
The muscles targeted in this exercise are gluteus maximus, erector spinae, and multifidus. Technique; Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your gluteal muscles (buttocks) to push your hips into the air. The body should be straight between the shoulders and the knees at the top position. The shoulders will remain on the floor. Be sure to keep the ribs from raising up higher than the abdomen, this can cause extension of the back. the top position is help for a 3-second count. Perform 10 repetitions. For advanced level position: straighten one leg and balance on the opposite foot while raising, holding, and returning to start position. Alternate legs each rep for advanced reps.
The Side Plank
A safe effective core strengthening exercise for the obliques, quadratus lumborum, and lower abdominal muscles. The muscles targeted are the internal and external obliques, quadratus lumborum, and transverse abdominus muscles. Technique: Lie on one side, ensuring the top hip is “stacked” directly above the bottom hip. Press off of the lower elbow, keeping it directly under the shoulder, to raise the body. The top position is held when the body is a straight line between the shoulders and feet. Hold the top position for up to 60 seconds. If shaking occurs perform 15 seconds holds with a 5-second break between for 4 reps. Repeat the exercise of the opposite side. For advanced level position: raise the top leg into the air and hold it in a position floating over the other leg.