by Lauren Rae, Wellness Coach and CPT at TRYM Fit
Core strength is so much more than a sexy six pack; it is the key to maintaining stability and preventing back pain. The core wraps around the center of your body (or your trunk) and must be strong enough to support the weight of your limbs. More importantly, the core must be capable of keeping your spine safe and avoiding injuries. With a healthy level of core strength, you’re more likely to avoid back pain and the subsequent treatments, like prescription medications. In addition to performing exercises for core strength, remember to maintain a healthy weight, always stretch regularly to maintain healthy muscles, and always lift heavy objects with proper technique, using leg and core strength rather than your back.
This spin on a regular plank is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your entire core.
- Begin in a kneeling position and bring your left hand or forearm to the floor. Turn on your side, lifting your right knee and shoulder until your body is entirely sideways to the ground, facing the wall or view. You also want to keep your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle in a straight line if possible.
- Extend your right leg and reach your right arm upwards or rest it on your hip while extending your left leg out beside your right for a full side plank.
- Hold this position for 60 seconds and then carefully lower back down and switch to the other side to repeat a total of three times on each side.
Wall sits will build endurance in your lower body as well as strengthen the muscles surrounding your trunk.
- Stand in front of a safe, sturdy wall with your back against it and your feet 1½ to 2 feet away from the base of the wall.
- Slide down the wall until your legs are in a 90-degree angle. Make sure your knees are on top of your ankle and knees are as wide as your feet. Arms can be by your sides or hold them out in front of your body.
- Hold this position for 45–60 seconds then return to a standing position.
- Repeat 3–4 times.
The hip bridge is an important exercise for strengthening your glutes and lower back muscles.
- Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your heels so they are in line with your sitting bones and keep your knees in line with your second toe.
- Exhale to engage and tighten your abdominal muscles. Press into your feet and lift your buttocks off of the ground. Your goal is to keep your body in alignment from your knees to your shoulders.
- Inhale and slowly lower back down onto the ground by placing one vertebra at a time down from the top of your spine to the bottom.
- Repeat several times and lengthen your hold at the top as you gain strength.