The core comprises of the abdominal and lumber (lower back) regions. It is centered around the spine, the body’s axis. As such, it is very important to engage in core-strengthening exercises. They are recommended by physical therapists to prevent and rehabilitate injuries. Below are five effective strengthening exercises:
- STATIC LEG AND BACK EXERCISE
This exercise is relatively challenging and will require some practice. Begin by lying on your back with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor. Your arms should lie palm down at your sides.
Lift your pelvis so that a bridge position is formed with a straight line running from your shoulder to your knees. Then lift one leg off the floor slowly and extend it to form a straight line with your core. At this point, your back, buttocks and lower abdomen will feel taut.
This means they are supporting your weight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg. While performing this exercise make sure that your pelvis does not tilt.
- CORE FLEXION
Core flexion focuses mainly on the abdominal muscles. There are two types of core flexion exercises; trunk flexion and leg flexion. For the trunk flexion, lie in a supine (face up) position on a hard but cushioned surface.
Place your hands behind your head and look up, keeping the chin away from your chest. Then slowly lift the abdomen and head until they reach a 30-degree angle from the floor. If progress is made the angle can be increased to 45 degrees.
This is one repetition. It is vital to breathe out with every flexion. The leg flexion works on the lower abdominal muscles.
Lie in a supine position and stretch out your arms and place the palms on the floor. Then lift the knees towards the shoulders. Lift your head as if trying to see the navel.
- OBLIQUE CRUNCHES
Oblique crunches are one of the best core exercises and work on all the trunk muscles. Lie on your back and place your hands on the side of your head. Raise your legs and bend them so that you form 90 degree angles at your hips and knees.
From this position, lift your shoulders off the floor and twist your core. The right elbow should reach towards the left knee. Slowly return to the floor and repeat in the opposite direction.
- PRONATED COBRA
This exercise is effective on the lower back and abdominal muscles. Lie on your stomach on a mat with your arms at your side. Lift your head and chest off the mat and look straight ahead. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for about 15 seconds then return to the floor. 10-20 sets of this exercise are ideal per session.
- SLIDING PIKE
This workout targets all the core muscles. Place a towel under your feet and get into a plank position. While keeping your legs straight, raise your hips and slide your legs towards your arms. Hold this position for about 10 seconds then return to the starting position.
While performing these exercises as physical therapy, the stomach should not tense up to a point where abdominal muscles bulge. This occurrence means that you are compensating with large muscle groups