The Ultimate Guide to Build a Strong Core

August 13, 2022 / Workout
The Ultimate Guide to Build a Strong Core

The best core exercises offer a host of benefits that will strengthen your body’s foundation. A Strong and healthy core is the first thing you should start to train when getting into activity. With a strong core you will notice all the exercises will be easier to do.

What is Core?

The core is a group of hip and trunk muscles that surrounds the abdominal viscera, spine, and hips while also moving, supporting, and stabilizing your spine.

Your core acts as an axis along which the muscles of the hips, abdomen, and back interact to support and stabilize the spine, providing a solid base for movement in the legs and arms.

These solid foundations play an important role in the balanced and coordinated functioning of the muscles that provide upper and lower body mobility and efficiently direct the power to your limbs. This is why your core is often referred to as the “powerhouse” of the body.

What is the function of core muscles?

  • Protects the spine from excessive load. For example, it is responsible for maintaining the strength, balance and mobility of the spine while transferring force from the lower body to the upper body.
  • Your core muscles play a key role in everyday biological functions. It creates internal pressure within the abdominal cavity, holding the internal organs in place, and helping with the expulsion of air from the lungs and of bodily waste.
  • While helping to transmit performance with increased strength and stability in challenging and dynamic sports, it plays an important role in reducing the risk of injury.
  • Strong core muscles generate the strength, stability, and mobility needed to carry out everyday activities such as carrying shopping, climbing the stairs, and getting into a car.

Why you should strengthen your core muscles

Core training will enhance balance and stability. A strong core will improve your posture, it will improve functional movement, which is important to athletes, as well as anyone that needs to walk, bend, turn and lift things in their life, which is basically all of us. A strong core will also prevent back pain. Alot of people think that back pain is caused by a weak back. In most cases however weak abdominal muscles cause low back pain.

Fixing Posture Problems?

Almost everyone has some issue related to their posture. Over time, poor posture takes a tremendous toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees. In fact, it can cause a cascade of structural flaws that result in acute problems, such as joint pain throughout your body, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which can limit your ability to burn fat and build strength. Building your core strength can improve your balance and posture, limiting the impact of these problems, or prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Back Pain?

In reality, back pain can be classed as anything that puts your spine under unnecessary strain, resulting in tension in the back and placing stress on the muscles, ligaments, disks, and spinal joints.

If you spend much of your day sitting, you are particularly vulnerable to back, shoulder and neck pain because you develop tightness and weak spots along the posterior muscle chain, which includes the muscles running from the lower back down to the glutes, hamstrings and calves. If you are fit and your body is functioning properly and efficiently, this should not cause problems. However, back pain can occur if certain muscles or muscle groups are overactive, underactive, or imbalanced. Developing your core strength can increase your trunk strength, improve your back pain, or prevent them from occurring in the first place. (source)

A strong core can help you lift heavier loads.

Whether you are lifting weights, packing heavy boxes or carrying the groceries into the house, if you have a weak core you are an accident waiting to happen. Take time to strengthen your core. A balanced and focused core-training program can have a positive impact on your physical well-being as a whole.

What are the Core Muscles?

The core muscles are not only the abs, actually they include many muscles that work together to create a strong foundation in the body. Without this foundation you will never be able to utilize the full power of your arms and legs. It is very important that you include core exercises in your workout routine.

The muscles included in the core are:

  1. Rectus Abdominis: the muscles that make up the “six-pack”, located along the front of the abdomen.
  2. Transverse Abdominis (TVA): These are located under the obliques, they are the deepest of the abdominal muscles and they also wrap around your spine for stability and protection.
  3. External Obliques: located on the sides and slightly in the front of the abdomen.
  4. Internal Obliques: located under the external obliques, they however run in the opposite direction.
  5. Diaphragm: The diaphragm is known as the respiratory muscle, but it works in conjunction with other deep stabilizers, particularly the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles, to provide trunk stabilization.
  6. Erector Spinae: It is the strong muscle group that keeps the spine straight. The erector spinae muscles consist of three muscle columns; spinalis, longissimus and iliocostalis. This group of three muscles travels down from your neck to your lower back.
  7. Quadratus lumborum: It is the deepest abdominal muscle, and commonly referred to as a back muscle. Contributes to the stabilization and movement of the spine and pelvis.
  8. Multifidus: The multifidus muscle is one of the core muscle stabilizers that plays an important role in static and dynamic spinal stability. Weakness in the multifidus muscle is associated with low back pain.
  9. Pelvic floor muscles; are the muscles that control the uterus, bladder, rectum, and small intestine. Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles around your bladder, bottom, and vagina or penis. For this reason, pelvic floor exercises also play an active role in preventing many future diseases.
  10. Muscles of hip joint; They are grouped according to their movements and functions as Flexors, Extensors, Abductors, Adductors, Internal and External Rotators. Hip muscles included in the core muscles include the psoas, iliacus, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius (anterior and posterior fibers), rectus femoris, and hamstring muscle group. (source)

core exercises

Core Training Types

Core training focuses on three goals: core mobility, core stability and core strength. Each of these plays an important role in the health and function of your body, so achieving a balance between them is vital.

WHAT IS CORE MOBILITY?

Core mobility refers to the movement of your hips and spine. There are five main movement patterns involved: flexion, isometric, side flexion, extension, and rotation. It is vital to mobilize your spine and hips before workout, to loosen tight muscles and encourage weaker, under-used muscles to function correctly. This helps to balance the relationship between muscle length and movement patterns, and allows for deeper muscle activation, improving your core stability and strength.

Benefits of Core Mobility Exercises

  • Aligns the body and improves posture
  • Encourages natural range of movement and increases flexibility
  • Promotes relaxation and tension relief
  • Improves efficiency of muscle activation and reactivity
  • Increases stability and strength
  • Decreases the risk of pain and injury

WHAT IS CORE STABILITY?

Core muscles are often categorized functionally on the basis of stabilizing or mobilizing roles. Core stability is the ability to control the position and movement of your midsection (trunk), in order to improve your posture and improve the efficiency of your limb movement. Core stability exercises target the deep muscles of your abs, hips and spine to build a strong foundation.

Benefits of Core Stability Exercises

  • Improves performance in sporting activity
  • Helps build muscle strength
  • Improves posture and skeletal alignment
  • Provides the stability and support for daily tasks
  • Helps prevent pain and injury
  • Increases body awareness, control, and balance
  • Resists unwanted movement of the spine

What is core strength?

Core strength is the ability to perform demanding physical tasks that require control. As it involves all of the muscles of your core—both deep and superficial— it has a key role in core training, but it is important to remember that good core strength requires a foundation of good core stability first.

Benefits of Core Strengthening Exercises

  • Increases speed and agility
  • Enhances all-round body strength and function
  • Helps enhance power of your movements
  • Makes it easier to perform a range of everyday tasks
  • Improves performance in sporting activity
  • Creates lean muscle tone
  • Improves balance and control

Best Core Exercises

The primary purpose of the core is to provide mobility, stability, strength, and balance to the midsection of your body. This creates a more stable and powerful platform for movement throughout the rest of your body.

Although different activities make different demands on your core, anoverall core workout should focus on three primary areas: mobility, stability, and strength. You should try to develop a training program that combines these with the five main types of core-based movement—isometric, flexion, side flexion, extension, and rotation—see Core-Training Programs

This heading includes:

1- Core Mobility Exercises
2- Core Activation Exercises
3- Core Strengthening Exercises
4- Intermediate Core Exercises
5- Advanced Core Exercises

Core Mobility Exercises

core mobility

Mobility stretches are a key part of any workout routine, helping you get the best results and reducing your risk of injury. This is particularly important before beginning a workout session. They lengthen and loosen your muscles, increasing your range of movement and flexibility, and reducing stiffness and pressure on your disks, ligaments, and facet joints. When performing the movements, relax your body, and breathe deeply and rhythmically.

1- Foam Roller Back Stretch

Foam Roller Back Stretch

In this move, the foam roller acts as a hinge to help improve the range of motion in your entire back. It is a good exercise to mobilize the muscles of your trapezius and back.

Alternative Foam Roller Exercises: Foam Roller GlutesFoam Roller RhomboidsFoam Roller iliotibial Band

How to do:

1- Sit with your heels planted on the floor and the roller beneath the middle of your back. Lie back onto the roller so that it is just below your shoulder blades. Clasp your hands together and lightly cradle your head.
2- With your chin tucked in, slide up and down the roller, from your neck down to the level of your lowest ribs, but do not go too low into your lumbar spine. Repeat the exercise for at least 30 seconds.

2- NECK ROTATION STRETCH

Neck Rotation Stretch

This simple exercise can help ease neck aches. After a little practice, you should be able to rotate your neck through at least 70 degrees to each side without feeling “pulls” or hearing cracking sounds.

Alternative Neck Mobility Exercises: Neck Extension StretchDiagonal Neck StretchNeck Flexion Stretch

How to do:

1- Look straight ahead, keepingyour spine in a neutral position.
Keep the upper body relaxed and your arms loose by your sides.

2- Move your head slowly toward your right shoulder, without straining. Turn it as far as is comfortable and hold for a few seconds.

3- Move your head back through the starting position toward your left shoulder, without straining. Return to the start position.

3- ARM CIRCLES

Arm Circles

Alternative Shoulder Mobility Exercises: Side arm raisesArm ScissorsSingle Arm Circles

The arm circle is a type of dynamic warm-up. Doing arm circles before starting a workout is a practical way to increase range of motion in the joints. Also, if you add this exercise to the beginning of your training program, it will warm up your shoulders, trapezius, chest, arms and upper back muscles.

4- SCAPULAR PROTRACTION AND RETRACTION

Scapular Protraction and Retraction

Alternative Mobility exercises: Wall Supported arm raisesWall SlidesSeated BallerinaBackhand Raise

This exercise provides an excellent way of freeing up the muscles and ligaments around your scapula and shoulder joints, and of warming your trapezius muscles. This is particularly important before beginning a resistance training session.

How to do:

Let your arms hang loose by the sides and relax your shoulders. Keep your head level and your spine in a neutral position. Slowly move your scapula forward and backward.

5- Standing Rotation

Standing Rotation

This move is a useful rotational dynamic stretch for mobilizing your core muscles. Be sure that you keep your hips stationary throughout.

Alternative Exercises: Bodyweight windmillHigh Knee SkipsElbow the knee twist

How to do:

1- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your elbows raised to each side.

2- Keeping your hips straight and aligned, rotate your upper body with a smooth motion to your right.

3- Pause at the edge of the movement, then rotate back through the start position, keeping your movement fluid, not jerky.

4- Continue the movement to your left side, keeping your hips and your elbows raised to each side. Pause at the edge of the movement, then rotate to the start position.

6- LYING UPPER BODY ROTATION

Lying Upper Body Rotation

This exercise helps improve the rotational mobility of your upper-back muscles and your thoracic spine, while also stretching the muscles of your chest.

Alternative Mobility exercises: Kneeling Back RotationKneeling T-spine Rotation

How to do:

1- Lie on your left side with your hips, knees, and feet stacked one above the other, and your hips and knees bent at right angles. Extend your arms straight in front of you, pressing your palms together.

2- Keeping your knees and feet together and your hips stacked, breathe in, brace your abdomen, and reach upward and back with your right hand, while keeping your left arm straight and resting on the floor.

3- Breathing out, rotate your upper body to face the ceiling, keeping your hips stacked and your right arm extended.

4- Continue the movement until you are as far back as possible, with your chest facing upward and your hips still stacked. Hold the movement briefly, keeping your shoulders stable and level. Breathe in.

5- Breathing out, reach back toward the ceiling with your right arm, while rotating your torso back toward the start position slowly and under control.

6- Continue the movement toward the start position and touch the palms of your hands together. Repeat the movement as required, then switch sides.

10- CAT COW POSE

cat cow

A great muscle-releasing exercise, this stretch helps lubricate your spine and get your spinal disks moving. It is one of the best exercises you can do as part of a general warm-up.

How to do:

1- Kneel on all fours with your hands flat on the floor and in line with your shoulders, your fingers pointing forward, and your knees below your hips.

2- Round the back upward and pull in your stomach, letting your head drop down as you do so. Hold the stretch for a few seconds at the top of the movement.

3- In one fluid movement, raise your buttocks and curve your spine downward while lifting your head so that you are looking straight ahead. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then return to the start position.

11- KNEELING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

This stretch is an excellent movement for your hip flexors, which may be particularly tight if you spend a lot of time sitting down. Good hip mobility is vital for balance and posture.

How to do:

1- Placing your hands on your knee, kneel on your right knee, with your left foot out in front of you and your left knee bent at a right angle, so that your head is in line with your right knee.

2- Lean forward, putting your weight on your left leg. Feel the stretch in your right thigh, and hold briefly at the edge of the movement.

3- Release and reverse the movement back to the start position. Repeat the stretch with your right leg.

12- Hip Circles

Hip Circles Stretch

This rotational dynamic stretch offers a useful warm-up for your core muscles. In contrast to the torso rotation, you should keep your upper body stationary while rotating your hips.

Alternative Exercises: KNEE CIRCLES

How to do:

1- Stand upright with your hands on your hips, your legs straight, and feet shoulder-width apart.

2- Start to rotate your hips slowly in a clockwise direction. Keep your back straight.

3- Continue the rotation back toward the start position with a smooth, controlled movement.

13- STANDING TOE TOUCH

Standing Toe Touch

This dynamic stretch helps mobilize the muscles of your lower back, while providing additional benefits to your hamstrings and shoulders. You should perform the exercise with a smooth, fluid movement.

Alternative Exercises: Standing Toe Touches

How to do:

1- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Engaging your core, raise your arms above your head, keeping your elbows soft.

2- Begin to roll down through the spine, initiating the movement from the head and upper back. Drop the arms forward and below your shoulders in a smooth controlled motion.

3- Continue the movement until you are as fully folded through the spine and hips as possible without straining. Relax your head, neck, and shoulders. Hold briefly, then return to start position in a slow, fluid motion.

14- ROLLING LIKE A BALL

Rolling Like a Ball crab

This dynamic stretch is an excellent way of mobilizing the muscles of your spine, lower back, and buttocks. Aim to perform the movement with a slow, controlled movement, and use a mat to cushion your spine as you roll. Be careful not to place strain on your neck.

How to do:

1- Sit upright on a mat with your knees drawn up to your chest and your feet lifted off the floor. Engage your core, grip your ankles, and relax your neck, keeping your head facing forward.

2- Gently roll backward until your shoulderblades are resting on the floor, with your knees tucked up to your chest. Keep your core engaged and be careful not to roll onto your neck.

3- Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then reverse the movement with a smooth, controlled motion, rolling forward to return to the start position.

15- SPHINX STRETCH

Sphinx Stretch

This simple exercise is designed to stretch and strengthen your lower back muscles and improve your spinal flexibility. You should aim to perform the movement with a slow, fluid motion, keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed throughout.

How to do:

1- Lie face down on a mat with your hands flat on the floor and roughly level with your chin. Extend your feet, keeping your legs together. Breathe in.

2- Pressing your hips against the mat and breathing out, lift your torso upward slowly, using your arms for support. Raise your head and shoulders as high as you can, keeping the lower back relaxed.

3- Pause briefly at the top of the movement, then lower your torso back to the start position with a smooth, controlled movement, and using your arms for support.

Core Activation Exercises

The first stage of your core training should involve learning how to engage your key core muscles and achieve a neutral pelvic position. Activation is a fundamental part of core workout, helping to strengthen your core and prevent injuries. The “deep” core muscles responsible for stabilization are not as easy to feel as “surface” muscles, and engaging them therefore requires time, focus, and control. Concentrate on your breathing and technique to ensure that you are performing the movements correctly.

At first you should work on the core muscles in isolation, then start to incorporate it into more challenging exercises. At this stage, you should keep your workout simple—do not be tempted to push yourself too far, too quickly.

1- Abdominal Bracing

Abdominal bracing

Abdominal bracing is a basic technique used during core exercise training.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus

Movement: Isometric

Alternative Core Activation Exercises: Fish Pose – Prone Abdominal Hollowing

How to do:

To correctly brace, you should attempt to pull your navel back in toward your spine. This action primarily recruits transverse abdominis You should be able to breathe while doing this, you should NOT hold your breath. Take a deep breathe in, allowing your rib cage to expand as much as you can.

As you exhale, tighten your belly muscles while drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Just imagine a string attached to the inside of your belly button, and have that string pull your belly button back towards your spine while NOT affecting your breathing. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then relax.

2- 4 POINT TUMMY VACUUM EXERCISE

4 Point Tummy Vacuum Exercise

This kneeling pelvic tilt helps if you have poor posture or a back complaint.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus

Movement: Isometric

How to do:

1- Kneel on a mat with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, keeping your back in a neutral position, and breathe in deeply.

2- Breathe out, pulling your abdominals in tight, and suck in your navel toward your spine. With one fluid motion, reverse the curve in your lower back and tilt your hips.

3- Release your spine to a neutral position, without dropping through your back. Inhale and exhale, feeling the movement within your abs. Repeat as required.

3- Half Crunch

Floor Crunch

The basic abdominal crunch is one of the simplest and most popular of all core exercises. Good form is key—control the movement with your core and keep your shoulders and neck relaxed.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor

Movement: Isometric

how to do:

1- Lie on a mat with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your fingers against the sides of your head.

2- Crunching up from your core, lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor without straining.

3- Hold the position briefly, then lower your upper body slowly to the floor, controlling the downward phase with your core.

4- Heel Slide

Hell Slide

This simple and relatively gentle movement is a good exercise for improving strength and mobility in the muscles of your hip and pelvis. Always remember to perform the same number of reps for each leg.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Hamstring ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Isometric

How to do:

1- Lie on your back with your legs stretched out straight in front of you, your arms by your sides, and your heels pressed lightly against the floor. Locate your neutral hip and spine position before you begin this exercise.

2- Keep your pelvis neutral. Slowly bend your right knee up by sliding your right heel along the ground. Bend it as far as you can without rocking or lifting your hips off the ground, or disturbing the lumbar spine position. Keep your core engaged throughout. Bring your knee back as far as you can.

3- Slide your right leg back to the start position, without allowing the hips to rock to one side. Stay weighted in the tailbone and keep your core engaged. Maintain neutral position throughout the movement. Alternate with each leg for the required number of reps, then relax.

5- Leg Pull-in Knee Up

Leg Pull In Knee ups

Once you have mastered the basic exercise, try this more demanding progression, in which you raise both legs at once. Focus on maintaining core stability and neutral alignment throughout the movement. Keep your core engaged and your knees bent at a consistent angle, and avoid dropping or overarching through your lower back.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Hip flexors ▪ Multifidus

Movement: Isometric

Alternative Core ExercisesLYING KNEE RAISE

How to do:

1- Lie flat on your back, relaxing your upper back and shoulders, and with your spine in a neutral position. Bend your knees, while keeping your feet flat on the floor at all times.

2- Engage your core. Lift both legs off the floor, keeping them aligned and hold neutral spine alignment. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your legs to the start position without letting your lower back lift.

6- Hands In Air Dead Bug

Dead Bug

This is a moderate-impact core-stabilizing exercise that can be helpful for strengthening the deep muscles of your abdomen and lower back. To get the best results from the movement, keep your core engaged throughout.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Isometric

How to do:

1- Raising your arms off the floor adds an element of instability, making your core work even harder. Raise your arms straight up.Keeping your arms still, and your core tight, alternately lower each foot to the floor.

7- Dead Bug

Dead Bug

This move is a functional core strengthening exercise that works the lower and upper body muscles.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Isometric

How to do:

1- This progression adds dynamic movement and rotational instability. Begin with your arms vertical and your feet off the floor, knees bent. Lower your left arm behind you, drawing your left knee to your chest and extending your right leg as far as possible without arching your back. Repeat as required.

8- Locust Pose

Locust Pose

This activation exercise encourages deep core stability and strengthens the muscles of your upper back and glutes. It is one of the most effective exercises for improving posture awareness and alignment.

Target Muscle: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus ▪ Gluteus medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Extension

How to do:

1- Lie face down on a mat, with your arms by your sides, palms up. Relax your trunk and legs. Breathe in, engaging your abdominals before you begin to move.

2- Lift your head, lengthening your neck. Raise your shoulders off the floor, rolling your palms in to face your thighs, and draw your legs together to engage your glutes. Use your abs and lower back to control the movement.

3- Hold briefly, ensuring you maintain abdominal engagement, spinal length, and hip alignment, then return to the start position slowly and smoothly.

9- Side Lying Clam

Side Lying Clam

This exercise is a simple but excellent movement for working the deep, stabilizing muscles of your buttocks, improving your hip stability and alignment, while also building your overall core stability.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Gluteus medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Isometric

How to do :

1- Lie on your right side, bending both your hips and knees at a 45-degree angle. Extend your right arm so that it is in line with the body, and rest your head on it. Bend your left arm at the elbow and place the left hand on to the floor in front of you.

2- Keeping your neck straight, your hips and shoulders in line, and your feet touching, engage your core and begin lifting the knee of your left leg, rotating at your hip.

3- Lift your left knee as far as it will go without straining, keeping your hips aligned. Slowly lower your knee back to the start position, and repeat for the required number of reps before swapping sides.

10- Arm Leg Raises

arm leg raise

This exercise strengthens the spinal extensor muscles and deep spinal stabilizers, which support your spine, and builds strength and stability in your buttocks, lower back, and shoulders.

Combining an arm lift and a leg lift requires additional strength and stability because it increases rotational instability even more than removing the support of a leg.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Isometric

How to do:

Contracting your abs, simultaneously lift your right leg behind you to hip height and your left arm forward to shoulder height. Hold for 10 seconds, return to the start position, then repeat with your other leg and arm. Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your hips throughout the movement.

Core Strengthening Exercises

core strengthening

The exercises in this section are the building blocks of good core strength and stability. You should aim to master them before moving on to those in the Intermediate and Advanced sections. To ensure that you get the best results, focus on performing each exercise correctly, maintaining good form throughout and controlling the movements with your core.

1- Sit-ups

Sit ups

The sit-up is a well-used and effective exercise for strengthening abdominals and increasing hip flexion. Focus on using your core to drive the movement, and avoid straining your neck.

Target Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Hip flexors

Movement: Flexion

Alternative Core Exercises: CRUNCHESCRUNCH WITH LEG RAISETUCK CRUNCHDOUBLE CRUNCHESLONG ARM CRUNCH

How to do:

1- Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Place the tips of your fingers on either side of your head.

2- Engage your core muscles and raise your torso upward, leaving just your buttocks and feet on the floor. Drive the movement entirely with your core.

3- Pause at the edge of the movement, then slowly lower your upper body to the start position, controlling the movement with your core.

2- OBLIQUE FLOOR CRUNCHES

Oblique Floor Crunches

This exercise improves your strength and core stability, and targets your external and internal obliques, improving trunk stability and side flexion. To avoid straining your neck, ensure that you support your head with your hand and control the movement with your core. For maximum effect, perform the movement slowly.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Side Flexion

How to do:

1- Lie on your right side, with your right arm outstretched, palm down, and your left hand lightly supporting your head. Bend slightly from the waist so that your legs are at an angle of around 30 degrees to your torso.

2- Squeeze your oblique muscles to raise your head and shoulders, taking care not to force the movement.

3- Pause briefly at the top of the movement, then return to the start position slowly and under control. Complete the desired number of reps, then switch sides.

3- CROSS CRUNCH

Cross Crunch

This simple but effective core exercise works your obliques and transverse abdominis, building both rotational strength and the ability of your core to stabilize your spine and hips against external rotational forces.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor

Movement: Side Flexion

Alternative Core Exercises: Half Cross CrunchRussian Twist

How to do:

1- Lie on a mat with your knees bent, your feet flat, and your fingers against the sides of your head.

2- Engaging your core, raise your elbows and upper back slightly off the floor, twisting your torso to your left so that your left elbow moves toward your right knee.

3- Hold for a moment then lower your upper body slowly to the floor, using your core to control the movement.

4- MEDICINE BALL CRUNCH

Medicine Ball Crunch

Performing the exercise while holding a medicine ball increases the load on your abs, making the movement more challenging.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Rectus Abdominis ▪ Internal Obliques

Movement: Flexion

How to do:

1- Holding the ball firmly with both hands, assume the normal starting position, then raise the ball in the air with your arms straight. Hold the ball in this position while you carry out the desired number of repetitions.

5- FLOOR HYPEREXTENSION

Floor Hyperextension

This simple exercise helps strengthen the spinal stabilizing muscles of your lower back. Aim to perform the movement with good form and avoid jerking up with your shoulders, which can strain your neck.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Gluteus maximus ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Extension

How to do:

1- Lie face down with your legs together. Place your hands by the side of your head, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your core active. Breathe in.

2- Exhale as you lift your upper body off the floor. Perform the movement slowly, controlling it with your core. Be careful not to jerk your head or strain the muscles of your lower back or neck.

3- Breathe in, hold briefly at the top of the movement, maintaining an active core, then slowly and gently lower yourself back to the start position.

6- Dumbbell Side Bend

Dumbbell Side Bend

This exercise is a simple but effective way of strengthening your obliques, and stabilizing your spine against lateral and rotational forces. Practice with a light weight until you have perfected the movement—focus on controlling the upward and downward phases with your core, rather than using your arms to raise and lower the dumbbell.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Side Flexion

How to do:

1- Stand upright with your knees slightly bent and one dumbbell resting on the side of your thigh. Keep your weighted arm straight.

2- Lean slowly to the right and slide the dumbbell down the outside of your right thigh to knee level while breathing in. Do not allow the weight to swing.

3- Straighten your torso to the start position by contracting your obliques on the left of your torso, breathing out as you do so. Repeat as required and switch sides

7- Heel Touch

Heel Touch

This side flexion exercise works your obliques, improving trunk stability and control. Good form is key—ensure that you control the movements with your core.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Side Flexion

How to do:

1- Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms down, and bend your knees. Engage your core to raise your shoulders and upper back off the floor, keeping your neck relaxed and your spine in a neutral position.

2- Reach down as far as you can toward your right foot with your right hand in a slow and controlled movement, crunching the left side of your abdomen to drive the movement and avoid straining with your neck.

3- Pause briefly, then return to the starting position and alternate for the required number of repetitions. Repeat the movement to the left side of your body.

8- Roman Chair Side Bend

Bench Side Bend

An effective side flexion movement, this exercise is best performed on a Roman chair—a piece of apparatus that has a ledge behind where you can secure your feet. It may also be done on a regular bench, but you will need a partner to hold your feet.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Side Flexion

how to do:

1- Lie sideways on the Roman chair; adjust it so that your upper body can pivot comfortably at your hips toward the floor.

2- Lean slowly sideways toward the floor as far as is comfortable, taking care not to lean forward or backward. Breathe in on your descent.

3- Pause at the edge of the movement, then gently raise your body to the start position. Repeat as required and switch sides.

9- HALF WIPERS

Half Wipers

This exercise strengthens your abdominals and lower back, as well as improving the general mobility of your lower and midback. While carrying out the movement, it is important to focus on keeping your upper back and shoulders in a consistent, stable position, in order to avoid rolling your whole body from side to side when you move your legs and hips. To begin with, you may find it helpful to use your outstretched arms to brace against the floor, and to find a point on the ceiling on which to fix your gaze to avoid moving your head.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus maximus ▪ Gluteus medius ▪ Gluteus minimus ▪ Hip flexors

Movement: Rotation

how to do:

1- Lie on your back with arms outstretched, palms up. Raise your legs to 90 degrees, with knees together. Keep your core engaged and your lower back in a neutral position.

2- With arms flat on the floor and knees together, lift your right hip and roll your hips and legs to the left. Stop before your upper back begins to lift. Hold for a few seconds.

3- Initiating from your core, roll your hips and legs back to the center, regaining your neutral position.

4- In the same way, roll your hips to the right, keeping your core engaged and using your arm for stability. Hold briefly, then return to start.

10- Glute Bridge

Glute Bridge

This simple but effective exercise activates the stabilizing muscles of your lower back and buttocks, and offers additional benefits to your hamstrings. It is an important core-stabilizing movement for helping to improve your posture —especially if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. It is a very versatile exercise with a wide range of potential variations and progressions.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus ▪ Gluteus medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Isometric

Alternative Core Exercises: BODYWEIGHT HIP THRUST

how to do:

1- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Relax your neck and shoulders.

2- Engaging your core, slowly lift your buttocks off the floor until your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.

3- Hold at the top of the movement, then reverse slowly and with control to return to the starting position.

11- BICYCLE CRUNCH

Bicycle Crunch

This exercise requires a combination of flexibility, stamina, and mobility. Always make sure that you are performing it with good, even form: ensure that you curl up and rotate your trunk, avoiding jerking your head or straining the neck muscles.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Internal obliques ▪ ▪ External obliques Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Isometric

how to do:

1- Lie on your back with your pelvis in a neutral position, and your knees and hips bent at a right angle. Place your hands on your temples.

2- Using your core to control the movement, slowly bring your left elbow and right knee together, rotating your torso to the right and extending your left leg.

3- Switch sides, bringing your right elbow toward the left knee and extending your right leg. Repeat the sequence for the desired number of repetitions.

12- Bodyweight Single Leg Deadlift

Bodyweight Single Leg Deadlift

This exercise is excellent for improving your core stability, balance, and coordination, as well as your hamstring flexibility. It is therefore often used to help with the rehabilitation of lower-body injuries. Practice in front of a mirror to perfect your form, and remember to perform the same number of reps for each side of your body.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus ▪ Gluteus medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Isometric

how to do:

1- Stand upright with your shoulder and hips aligned, and your back in a neutral position, and your feet shoulder-width apart.

2- Bend forward at your hips, lifting your right leg back and transferring the weight onto your left leg, bending your knee slightly, and lifting your arms as you do so.

3- Continue until your body is as close as you can get to parallel with the floor. Hold, then reverse the movement slowly and with control. Repeat as required and switch sides.

13- Leg Raise

Lying Leg Raise

This reasonably demanding core exercise helps build stability in the deep core muscles of your spine as well as providing a great workout for your abs. Make sure that you maintain good form throughout to avoid placing any stress on your lower back.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Hip flexors ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus ▪ Gluteus medius

Movement: Isometric

Alternative Core Exercises: FLUTTER KICK

how to do:

1- Lie on your back with your arms placed by your sides. Raise your legs into a vertical position, keeping your knees and feet together and your back and hips neutral.

2- Slowly lower your legs, keeping your feet and knees together, controlling the movement with your core and keeping your torso stationary.

3- Continue the movement until your feet are as near to the floor as you can get, maintaining a neutral back. Hold this position briefly, then slowly lift your legs back to the start position, with a controlled, smooth motion. Avoid lifting your lower back as you repeat.

14- Plank

plank

This excellent isometric exercise engages your core and many major muscle groups of the upper and lower body. Good form is key—make sure you maintain a straight line through your body, from shoulders to ankles.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus/medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Isometric

Alternative Core Exercises: Front to Side PlankFront Plank with Arm LiftSide PlankPlank Leg LiftSide Plank Leg Raises

how to do:

1- Lie face down on an exercise mat with your elbows to your sides, your head facing forward, and palms flat on the floor.

2- Engaging your core and glutes, raise your body from the floor, supporting your weight on your forearms and toes while breathing freely. Concentrate on maintaining a straight line through your core and legs.

3- Hold the plank position, maintaining good form and keeping your glutes tensed, then return to the start position slowly and with good control.

Intermediate Core Strengthening Exercises

The exercises in this section build on those in Foundation, with the challenges of added instability, movement, weight, and power to make your core work harder and with greater functionality. Concentration and good technique are vital, and it is important that you can perform the less-advanced exercises with confidence before you try any of these.

1- Hanging Knee Raises

Hanging Knee Raises

This simple but demanding exercise works your abdominals and hip flexors, while helping to elongate your spine. Good core control is key and it is vital to keep your torso as stable as possible, rather than jerking with your back, which can cause injury.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Hip flexors

Movement: Flexion

How to do:

1- Hang from a stable chin-up bar using an overhand grip with your arms straight and shoulder- width apart. Keeping your body as still as possible and your legs together, engage your core.

2- Keeping your body still and your legs together, raise your knees upward, using your core to control the movement, until your hips and knees are at right angles. Pause, then return to the start position with good control.

2- Kettlebell Windmill

Kettlebell Windmill

This exercise offers a good workout for your obliques, with added benefits for your glutes, legs, and shoulders. Begin with a light kettlebell, while increasing the size of the weight as you progress to make the exercise more challenging.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus ▪ Gluteus medius

Movement: Side Flexion

Alternative Core Strengthening Exercises: Dumbbell Windmill

How to do:

1- Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell in your left hand. Raise the weight above your left shoulder, allowing your right arm to hang by your side.

2- Keeping the kettlebell aloft and pivoting at your hips, drop your torso to the right, reaching toward the floor with your right arm and bending your right knee. Turn your head in the direction of the kettlebell as you do so.

3- Continue reaching down as far as you can with your right hand, keeping the kettlebell in position and your head turned toward it. Hold briefly, then return to the start position. Complete your reps, then switch sides.

3- Good Morning

Barbell Good Morning

This excellent extension exercise works the stabilizing muscles of your spine, while strengthening your glutes and improving hip mobility. As your hip flexibility increases, you may be able to lower your upper body so that it is parallel to the floor.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Extension

Alternative Core Strengthening Exercises: Smith Machine Good MorningGood Morning With Resistance Band

How to do:

1- Holding your body upright, position a barbell behind your neck and resting on the upper back. Keep your knees slightly bent and your spine neutral.

2- Bending slightly at your knees and hips, start to lean forward under control. Keep your chin up—it will stop you from rounding your back.

3- Lean forward by pivoting at the hip. Continue lowering your chest, keeping the back neutral and allowing your knees to bend slightly.

4- Flex as far as you can. With practice, your back may be parallel to the floor. Return to the start position, breathing out as you go.

4- HYPEREXTENSION

This is a great core exercise for improving hip strength and mobility. As with the good morning (above), as your hip flexibility improves, you will be able to lower your torso even farther.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Extension

Alternative Core Exercises: Weighted Back Extension

How to do:

1- Position your thighs on the pads of the Roman chair so that your hips are free to flex. Your feet should be flat on the foot supports, your spine neutral, and your elbows pointing out.

2- Flex at your hips and drop your upper body toward the floor, keeping your back flat. Stop bending when the flexibility of your hamstrings restricts further movement.

3- Return to the start position, contracting your hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors. Do not extend beyond the start position because you may injure your back.

5- Landmine Twist

Landmine Twist

This excellent rotational exercise uses an arcing movement that works a large group of muscles in unison. As a result it offers a useful full-body multi-joint movement that makes a good addition to any core-strength exercise programme.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus ▪ Gluteus medius

Movement: Rotation

Alternative Core Exercises:

How to do:

1- Continue the movement, turning the end of the bar in a forward, clockwise motion, keeping the other end pressed against the weight.

2- Follow the movement back and through the start position to your left, keeping your core engaged and maintaining good form.

3- Control the movement to your left, keeping your legs still and moving from your hip, and pivoting the bar from the weight on the floor.

6- Mountain Climber

Mountain climber

The mountain climber is a dynamic movement that is excellent for building core stamina, while also improving your core strength, balance, and agility. It is especially useful if you have little equipment but want a challenging all-body workout.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Hip flexors ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Isometric

Alternative Core Exercises: Cross Body Mountain ClimberSpider Plank

How to do:

1- Assume a normal press-up position with your weight on your hands and toes, your back and legs straight, and your hands shoulder-width apart.

2- In one quick but controlled movement, bring your right knee up toward your chest, placing the ball of your right foot on the floor at the edge of the movement.

3- Lightly spring up with your legs and switch feet, bringing your left foot up toward your chest as you push back with the right. Continue alternating your feet for the required number of reps, then relax to the start position.

7- Russian Twist

Russian Twist

This exercise is designed to improve your spinal flexibility, as well as building strength across your core. As with any movement that twists the spine, be sure to carry it out with good form and control.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Rotation

Alternative Core Exercises:

How to do:

1- Sit with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat. Hold the ball out in front of you and lean back at a 45-degree angle, curving your torso slightly.

2- Keeping your hips stationary, control your movement with your core, turning your torso as far to the right as possible in a smooth motion.

3- Hold briefly, then reverse back through to the start position, again controlling the movement from your core, and keeping your shoulders and hips relaxed.

4- Continue the movement to your left, rotating your torso and lowering the ball toward the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the start position.

8- Medicine ball Overhead Slam

Medicine ball Overhead Slam

This powerful, dynamic exercise offers your core a great workout, with added benefits for your shoulders. Focus on keeping your body as balanced as possible throughout, and start with a reasonably light ball, until you can carry out the movement with good form and confidence. You should enlist the help of a partner to retrieve the medicine ball and prevent it from interfering with the activities of other gym users.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Rectus Abdominis

Movement: Flexion

How to do:

1- Holding a medicine ball in both hands, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back in a neutral position. Engaging your core, raise the medicine ball above your head, keeping your arms straight and your shoulders aligned with each other.

2- In one powerful movement, drive the medicine ball down toward the floor in front of you, keeping your arms straight, pivoting at your shoulders, and driving the force with your core.

3- Release the ball at the bottom of the downward movement, keeping your shoulders and hips aligned and your legs straight. Ideally, you should drive the ball down hard enough to lift your body off the ground with the momentum generated by the movement. Retrieve the ball and repeat

9- Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings

This whole-body exercise works the muscles of your glutes, lower back, and hips. Allow the kettlebell to hang loosely from your arms and generate the force of the movement from your hips, rather than trying to “muscle” the weight up with your upper body.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Hip flexors ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus/medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Isometric

Alternative Core Exercises: One Arm Kettlebell SwingSwing | Gymstick

How to do:

1- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and grip the kettlebell with both hands, allowing it to hang loosely. Bend your knees and drop your buttocks backward slightly, leaning your torso forward from the hip and keeping your back straight.

2- Keeping your arms straight but relaxed, drive forward with your hips to stand tall, so that the kettlebell swings forward and up.

3- Allow the kettlebell to swing up as far as momentum carries it, and then back down toward the hips. As it approaches, drop your hips and lean your torso forwards, and keeping your back straight, to return to the start position.

10- SWISS BALL ROLLOUT

Swiss Ball Rollout

In a similar way to the plank, this excellent core exercise builds stability and strength in the muscles of your abdomen and lower back, with the added challenge of forward movement, working your upper back and shoulder stability.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Multifidus ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Complex

Alternative Core Exercises: Standing Barbell RolloutBarbell RolloutAb Wheel Rollout

How to do:

1- Kneel down with an exercise ball positioned in front of you. Engaging your core and straightening your back, rest your hands and lower arms on the top of the ball.

2- Roll the ball forward by extending your arms, and follow it with your upper body as far as you can, keeping your core tight and your back straight and shoulders stable.

3- Extend the movement, hold for a few seconds, and then reverse to the start position, controlling the movement of the ball with your core.

Advanced Core Strengthening Exercises

The exercises in this section involve challenging and complex movements that require excellent all-round core strength, stability, and mobility to perform correctly. It is therefore important that you do not attempt any of them until you have mastered the exercises in the previous sections and can perform them confidently with optimum form and technique.

1- JACKKNIFE SIT-UPS (V-UP)

Jackknife Sit-ups

This exercise demands excellent core control and flexibility, and takes practice to perfect. It is important to focus on good form and control the upward and downward phases with your core, rather than straining with your legs or back, which can cause injury.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Hip flexors

Movement: Flexion

Alternative Core Strengthening Exercises: DUMBBELL V-UPEXERCISE BALL FROG CRUNCHV-UP DOWN WITH STABILITY BALLFROG CRUNCHTeaser Pilates

How to do:

1- Lie flat on the floor with your legs together and your arms stretched above your head, shoulder-width apart, palms facing inward.

2- Using your core to drive the movement, raise your legs and upper body off the floor at the same time, keeping them straight, and bring your arms over in an arc toward your feet.

3- Continue the movement to form a “V” shape, with your back and legs straight, and stretch your arms toward your toes. Hold briefly, then reverse the movement to the start position, controlling it with your core.

2- STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCK

Stability Ball Knee Tuck

This difficult core flexion exercise demands excellent core stability, balance, and control to perform correctly. Because the movement can potentially cause injury when performed with poor form, you should only attempt it after you have mastered a good range of basic core exercises.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Erector spinae ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Flexion

Alternative Core Exercises: TRX MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

How to do:

1- Assume a plank, with your hands on the floor below the shoulders and your feet on an exercise ball, supported by your toes. Keep your elbows straight, but not locked, and the shoulders relaxed. Hold your back straight and ensure your pelvis is not tipping downward.

2- Keeping your body straight and your hands fixed in position, slowly push foward with your feet, bending at the hip. Push as far as you can, keeping control of the movement with your core.

3- Hold the position for a few seconds, then return to the start position with a slow, controlled movement.

3- STANDING CABLE HIGH-TO-LOW TWIST

Standing Cable High-To-Low Twist

This exercise is a powerful core-rotational exercise that is excellent for improving spinal control and stability, and building rotational strength.

Performing the chop while standing makes your core muscles work harder to generate rotational power. Keep your back straight, and avoid trying to “muscle” the movement down with your arm or shoulders.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Quadratus lumborum

Movement: Rotation

Alternative Core Exercises: STANDING CABLE LOW-TO-HIGH TWISTSTANDING CABLE TWISTCABLE SEATED CROSS ARM TWISTSEATED CABLE TWISTCABLE SEATED TWIST ON FLOOR

How to do:

1- Stand with the pulley to your right, keeping your back and legs straight, and your shoulders and hips aligned. Keeping your arms extended, grasp the cable handles.

2- Engaging your core, pull the cable down and across your body, bending your elbows as you reach the midpoint of your chest. Keep your shoulders straight.

3- Keeping the cable close to your body, push down with your arms to finish the movement. Hold briefly and return to the start position. Switch sides.

4- Dragon Flag

Dragon Flag

This exercise is designed to strengthen the muscles that support the spine. Before attempting a dragon flag movement, you should make sure that you have worked your way up to advanced core training.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus Abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Obliques ▪ Multifidus ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Erector Spinae

Movement: Isometric

How to do:

1- Brace your core and raise your legs until your toes are pointed at the ceiling. Only your head and upper back should be touching the bench, and your body should form a straight line from your toes to your chest.

2- Pause at the top of the move, then lower your legs slowly, keeping them extended and making sure that your back doesn’t arch.

5- Barbell Hip Thrusts

Barbell Hip Thrust

The target muscle group of the barbell hip thrusts exercise is the hip muscles. But the barbell hip thrust exercise activates all the core muscles, including the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, and obliques.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus Abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Obliques ▪ Multifidus ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Erector Spinae ▪ Gluteus maximus ▪ Gluteus medius ▪ Gluteus minius ▪ Hip flexor

Movement: Extension

6- Turkish Get-up

Turkish Get-up

This ungainly but highly functional exercise offers an unusual but effective challenge for your core muscles. The basic movement involves raising your body up from a prone position while holding a weight aloft with one hand—in this case a kettlebell. Remember to perform equal numbers of reps with each hand.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ External obliques ▪ Internal obliques ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Hip flexors ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Gluteus minimus/medius ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Complex

How to do:

1- Stand with the pulley to your right, keeping your back and legs straight, and your shoulders and hips aligned. Keeping your arms extended, grasp the cable handles.

2- Engaging your core, pull the cable down and across your body, bending your elbows as you reach the midpoint of your chest. Keep your shoulders straight.

3- Keeping the cable close to your body, push down with your arms to finish the movement. Hold briefly and return to the start position. Switch sides.

7- TOES TO BAR

Toes to Bar

This exercise -effectively a more demanding version of the hanging knee-up- may look deceptively simple but it is difficult to perform. Good form is crucial. You must keep your upper body as still and as stable as possible, controlling the movement with your hip flexors and glutes, rather than trying to use momentum.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Pelvic floor ▪ Hip flexors ▪ Gluteus maximus

Movement: Flexion

Alternative Core Exercises: CAPTAINS CHAIR LEG RAISE

How to do:

1- Suspend yourself from a pull-up bar with your arms shoulder-width apart, using an overhand grip. Ensure that your legs are straight and stationary, and there is a straight line from your shoulders to your ankle.

2- Keeping your legs together, raise them up in front of you, pivoting at your hips. Keep your back straight and use your deep abdominals and hip flexors to control the movement.

3- Raise your feet as high as you can manage without straining or compromising your form. Hold briefly, then return to the start position, using your glutes to control the downward movement.

8- HANGING WINDSHIELD WIPER

Hanging Windshield Wiper

The hanging windshield wiper is an advanced core training exercise that is also extremely challenging to other muscles of the upper body, including the lats, biceps, and grip. All core and abs muscles are fully activated while preforming this advanced exercise.

During this move, your upper abs undergo a strong isometric contraction, while your lower abs do a substantial amount of work, and your obliques are trained hard.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus Abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Internal Obliques ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Erector Spinae ▪ External Obliques ▪ Hip flexor

Movement: Complex

9- Human Flag

Human Flag

A high-level calisthenics movement, this exercise requires special practice and advanced levels of skill and precision. In order to perform an human flag, it’s important to have strong arm and core muscles.

Target Core Muscles: ▪ Rectus Abdominis ▪ Transverse abdominis ▪ Obliques ▪ Multifidus ▪ Quadratus lumborum ▪ Erector Spinae ▪ Gluteus maximus ▪ Hip flexor

Movement: Isometric

STATIC STRETCHES

Static stretches should always be performed after exercise to help your muscles relax and prevent them from becoming shortened, which can lead to injury.
Try to combine a range of seated and standing stretches to work a full range of muscles, and be sure to breathe deeply and rhythmically, inhaling before each stretch and exhaling during the movement.

Conclusion

Core training is most effective when the all the muscles of the torso work together as a solid unit and both front and back muscles contract at the same time, multi joint movements are performed and stabilization of the spine is constant.

There are many exercises that will strengthen the core. Many core fitness training exercises can be done at home with no equipment …there are some that require the use of equipment and gadgets, but the best are actually the ones that are possible by just using your body.