2

votes

What are the best exercises to do to strengthen your core?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 30, 2011 at 10:10 PM

I could really do with strengthening my core. I have lower back pain and also tend to hold all my stress in my pelvis so I could do with some relaxation ideas too. I can't make a gym and there is no Crossfit in my area and I'm lazy lol. I stand up all day for work and I never wear heels. Although I've not got any excess weight I feel 'flabby' round the middle. Any suggestions please.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 23, 2012
at 03:37 AM

Is that like a "superman"?

D5c8768927c463b363b109f18b7c16c4

(375)

on December 24, 2011
at 03:38 PM

No, this is just wrong. There should be no curve in your lumbal spine whatsoever. It has to be pressed deeply down into the mat. The closer your legs are to the floor, that harder your abdominal muscles and hip extensors have to work to keep the pelvis tilted back to have the lower back pressed down. If it starts to arch anywhere in the range of motion, the above mentioned muscles are weak and you are putting unneeded stress on your vertebrae. Besides, this is an isometric exercise for your abs and your hip flexors do all the movement...

D5c8768927c463b363b109f18b7c16c4

(375)

on December 24, 2011
at 03:35 PM

No, this is just wrong. There should be no curve in your lumbal spine whatsoever. It has to be pressed deeply down into the mat. The closer your legs are to the floor, that harder your abdominal muscles and hip extensors have to work to keep the pelvis tilted back to have the lower back pressed down. If it starts to arch anywhere in the range of motion, the above mentioned muscles are weak, you should try an easier exercise for your core.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on December 24, 2011
at 02:57 PM

Came here to say that, so I won't add another answer, just a +1 here. There is no better exercise for your core than a properly execute overhead squat. You can't cheat it or else you'll fall down. I don't like anything that focus on the "core" - situps, planks, etc - I prefer full body exercises that require the core to be strong to complete properly, and the OHS is the best of them. The other squat variants are really good too.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 23, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Yes, for lower back pain, things like planks would be superior to heavy lifting. Heavy lifting gives you a strong core, but what you want for posture issues is an enduring core, so you should train it that way.

7d189666820da6f61b9d0b90976185e9

(70)

on December 23, 2011
at 03:50 PM

Stuart McRobert's The Insider's Tell-All Handbook On Weight-Training Technique (1996). Check your local library system. He spends *pages* discussing form for squats. Look past the bodybuilding aesthetic, and learn from the pros. You don't want to hurt yourself. (And totally squat. My ballet form increased exponentially after squating for a few weeks. It's applicability is stunning.)

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on December 23, 2011
at 03:18 PM

Don't do kettlebell workouts off the internet unless you know how to hold yourself in the perfect posture. You can really hurt yourself. I think kettlebells are awesome, though.

Ba20b502cf02b5513ea8c4bb2740d8cb

(1669)

on November 13, 2011
at 10:38 PM

yep lovin' the handstand pushups...every chance I get I'm posting up on a wall and doing HS push ups...got caught in a starbucks bathroom doing a set, the guy was just like, "WTF??"

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on October 31, 2011
at 08:25 PM

Probably time to look for a class. I could do with all that.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on October 31, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Yeah but they're hard! Oh... that's the point :)

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on October 31, 2011
at 08:23 PM

Thanks for the tip. Any idea where I can see an example of good form? Sounds like the kind of thing I could get wrong.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on October 31, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Looks interesting - think I'll check the other parts too.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on October 31, 2011
at 04:10 PM

I have been doing Callanetics for over twenty years and am most delighted with them. Each exercise as well as the combination of exercises can be adapted to individual needs. I wish you all the best in finding what suits you.

176ccb9c761ec8c45dbe60d43b6e9caf

(135)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:58 PM

No gym needed, just find something to lift. Learn proper form and how to ditch the weight safely. Front squat will require less weight than back squat to push her limits in a similar way. I agree with sinn - a focus on compound lifts and all of your assistance (read: everything) muscles will develop. There is no such thing as someone with a great squat/deadlift having a weak core.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:47 PM

Kettlebell swings are the bestest exercise evar!

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:23 PM

The only problem is that she doesn't have access to a gym

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on October 31, 2011
at 05:07 AM

They're great for back pain for many, but require good base upper body and core strength (which many women don't have without a pretty intense exercise regime). Also they can mess up your shoulders and arms if you don't have good form/balanced strength before attempting.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:25 AM

I don't think someone with back pain could manage to do handstands.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on October 30, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Hehe. By "easy", I meant simple.

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20 Answers

7
5514047f3281f61b1139fe6483ae6989

on October 30, 2011
at 11:12 PM

Front squat, overhead squat, and back squat. They're not just for lifters. They will actually make you stronger and better at life.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:23 PM

The only problem is that she doesn't have access to a gym

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on October 31, 2011
at 08:23 PM

Thanks for the tip. Any idea where I can see an example of good form? Sounds like the kind of thing I could get wrong.

176ccb9c761ec8c45dbe60d43b6e9caf

(135)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:58 PM

No gym needed, just find something to lift. Learn proper form and how to ditch the weight safely. Front squat will require less weight than back squat to push her limits in a similar way. I agree with sinn - a focus on compound lifts and all of your assistance (read: everything) muscles will develop. There is no such thing as someone with a great squat/deadlift having a weak core.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on December 24, 2011
at 02:57 PM

Came here to say that, so I won't add another answer, just a +1 here. There is no better exercise for your core than a properly execute overhead squat. You can't cheat it or else you'll fall down. I don't like anything that focus on the "core" - situps, planks, etc - I prefer full body exercises that require the core to be strong to complete properly, and the OHS is the best of them. The other squat variants are really good too.

7d189666820da6f61b9d0b90976185e9

(70)

on December 23, 2011
at 03:50 PM

Stuart McRobert's The Insider's Tell-All Handbook On Weight-Training Technique (1996). Check your local library system. He spends *pages* discussing form for squats. Look past the bodybuilding aesthetic, and learn from the pros. You don't want to hurt yourself. (And totally squat. My ballet form increased exponentially after squating for a few weeks. It's applicability is stunning.)

5
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on October 30, 2011
at 10:25 PM

Planks work well.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on October 31, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Yeah but they're hard! Oh... that's the point :)

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 23, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Yes, for lower back pain, things like planks would be superior to heavy lifting. Heavy lifting gives you a strong core, but what you want for posture issues is an enduring core, so you should train it that way.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 23, 2012
at 03:37 AM

Is that like a "superman"?

4
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on October 30, 2011
at 11:32 PM

I recommend an ab roller. It's cheap, fast, brutal, and hits the most important muscles (transverse). See how easy it is: How I Ended My Lower Back Pain - Part 6: Ab Wheel.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on October 30, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Hehe. By "easy", I meant simple.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on October 31, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Looks interesting - think I'll check the other parts too.

3
176ccb9c761ec8c45dbe60d43b6e9caf

on October 31, 2011
at 12:54 PM

Front/Back squat and deadlift. You don't need a gym, just something heavy.

3
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on October 30, 2011
at 11:38 PM

Can you take yoga classes? I've found yoga to be the perfect mix of strength-building and tension-relieving exercises. I am not naturally flexible and carry tension in my neck, shoulders, and pelvis - it's helped me a ton. A lot of instructors incorporate meditation, breathing and relaxation techniques as well.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on October 31, 2011
at 08:25 PM

Probably time to look for a class. I could do with all that.

2
1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on December 23, 2011
at 03:27 PM

I highly recommend the website Pilates Anytime. It's $18/ month, and the teachers are amazing. They are constantly posting new mat classes, some using simple props to add to the challenge and interest. You can get a great workout on your living room floor. I am a Pilates teacher and have seen many people heal their low back pain by practicing Pilates and finding their core muscles. Good luck!

2
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on October 31, 2011
at 03:31 PM

Chopping wood or breaking down walls with sledgehammer (its most fun excersise i know. I wish there was more walls to destroy :)

2
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:06 PM

pilates has the best core exercises in my experience.

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 31, 2011
at 11:27 AM

It's hard to underdeveloped core if you're strong elsewhere. In other words, functional strength means adequate core strength. But I also like back extensions on a swiss ball. Really feel it in the lower back area. A swiss ball is great for getting the midsection stretched out too.

2
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on October 30, 2011
at 10:41 PM

Kettlebell exercises can strengthen the core very well. This site my be helpful http://www.myomytv.com/

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:47 PM

Kettlebell swings are the bestest exercise evar!

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on December 23, 2011
at 03:18 PM

Don't do kettlebell workouts off the internet unless you know how to hold yourself in the perfect posture. You can really hurt yourself. I think kettlebells are awesome, though.

1
77953c433077c7a65da802327ea7c529

on December 24, 2011
at 01:56 PM

Would you have a place to whack a tractor tire with a sledgehammer?

After kettlebell swings and planks, that's my favorite.

1
Medium avatar

on December 24, 2011
at 03:44 AM

Sad to hear you can't get to a gym. Because gyms are a great place to do the stuff that really matters.

Squats. Dead lift. Chins. Bench press.

Do these if you can. Otherwise, do calisthenics that mimic their effects.

If where you work out has lots of blue balls for sitting on while you do silly versions of sit-ups, find a pin and deflate those with impunity. You are very certainly wasting your time.

Seriously: the crucial "core" work happens from the compound exercises of paragraph two.

1
6dce33d5d77583e66bc212b022e7b598

on November 13, 2011
at 10:49 PM

Planks. pushups, with extra attention devoted to keeping perfect form. Planche progressions. I developed a very, very strong core using only planks, pushups, and planche progressions (I am currently only able to do as far as the tuck planche.)

1
E85b330dc9619cf686fd17c9104c78a6

on October 31, 2011
at 12:25 PM

Lay down on the floor with your knees to your chest. Put your hands under your lower back and push you back slowely on your hands. Now lower your legs while keeping your lower back against your hands. Learned it in yoga and it's one of the best ways to strengthen your core muscles.

1
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:24 PM

Work on gymnastics holds. Check out www.gymnasticswod.com and www.beastskills.com and work on planche progressions and l-sit progressions

1
E751dbb140aecc9479b9248891edf584

(101)

on October 30, 2011
at 10:27 PM

Lie on your back. Keep your legs straight and lift them off the floor. Keep the curve in your back while doing it.

Ridiculously painful the next day.. so you know it's working!

D5c8768927c463b363b109f18b7c16c4

(375)

on December 24, 2011
at 03:35 PM

No, this is just wrong. There should be no curve in your lumbal spine whatsoever. It has to be pressed deeply down into the mat. The closer your legs are to the floor, that harder your abdominal muscles and hip extensors have to work to keep the pelvis tilted back to have the lower back pressed down. If it starts to arch anywhere in the range of motion, the above mentioned muscles are weak, you should try an easier exercise for your core.

D5c8768927c463b363b109f18b7c16c4

(375)

on December 24, 2011
at 03:38 PM

No, this is just wrong. There should be no curve in your lumbal spine whatsoever. It has to be pressed deeply down into the mat. The closer your legs are to the floor, that harder your abdominal muscles and hip extensors have to work to keep the pelvis tilted back to have the lower back pressed down. If it starts to arch anywhere in the range of motion, the above mentioned muscles are weak and you are putting unneeded stress on your vertebrae. Besides, this is an isometric exercise for your abs and your hip flexors do all the movement...

0
3219f5b0673071f183dc66e0338b1daa

(86)

on October 30, 2011
at 11:39 PM

Handstands for time are great... do 5-10 of them every day. Keep your head down & keep everything straight (toes pointed). V-ups are good, too... either in repetition or just holding one for 3-4 minutes.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:25 AM

I don't think someone with back pain could manage to do handstands.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on October 31, 2011
at 05:07 AM

They're great for back pain for many, but require good base upper body and core strength (which many women don't have without a pretty intense exercise regime). Also they can mess up your shoulders and arms if you don't have good form/balanced strength before attempting.

Ba20b502cf02b5513ea8c4bb2740d8cb

(1669)

on November 13, 2011
at 10:38 PM

yep lovin' the handstand pushups...every chance I get I'm posting up on a wall and doing HS push ups...got caught in a starbucks bathroom doing a set, the guy was just like, "WTF??"

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77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 01:51 AM

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77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 23, 2012
at 01:49 AM

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