As part of our “5 for 2015″ series, we wanted to focus on one of the most popular questions we always get, “How do I strengthen my core?”  Before we delve into the exercises it is important to point out that just because you have great abs and are comparing your six-pack, doesn’t mean you have a strong core.  In fact, quite often the opposite is true, when you only focus on your abdominal muscles.

What is the core? 

As part of our “5 for 2015″ series, we wanted to focus on one of the most popular questions we always get, “How do I strengthen my core?”  Before we delve into the exercises it is important to point out that just because you have great abs and are comparing your six-pack, doesn’t mean you have a strong core.  In fact, quite often the opposite is true, when you only focus on your abdominal muscles.

Start off slow 

If you are not use to doing these exercises, it is best to begin slowly, doing each for just 10 seconds.  Try to do 2 or 3 sets a few times per week and gradually increase the time.

Planks

An all-around great exercise, the plank is safe and can be modified based on ability. It is one we regularly use and highly recommend.

Start by laying on the surface with your elbows tucked in by your side and your toes pointed to the ground, with your heels up.  Take a breath in and lift your body so your weight is on your elbows and toes.  Make sure to breath and try to hold this pose for 10 seconds. Gently lower your body, rest and repeat.

Start by laying on the surface with your elbows tucked in by your side and your toes pointed to the ground, with your heels up.  Take a breath in and lift your body so your weight is on your elbows and toes.  Make sure to breath and try to hold this pose for 10 seconds. Gently lower your body, rest and repeat.

Swing Ball Bridges

Tighten your glut’s and roll your feet down the ball, so that your knees come up towards your chest.  Maintain your core stability.  Hold for 2 or 3 seconds. Remember to breathe. Push back up to the starting position. Try five sets to start.

Lay with your back flat on the surface and your arms stretched out by your side, palms down. Place your feet on top of the ball.

Bird Dog

Starting on all fours, extend your right arm in front of you at shoulder level and your left leg behind you at hip height. Maintain balance with this yoga pose that works the core, arms and legs.  Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and make sure to breathe. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Balance

This exercise is deceiving and is much tougher than it looks.  Standing up right with shoulders back and arms at your side, close your eyes. Left one leg off the ground a few inches.  Maintain your balance for 5-10 seconds.  You will feel it in your mid-section. Make sure to breathe.  Lower your leg and repeat on the other side.

Please consult your physician or professional healthcare provider before beginning this or any exercise program. The advice given is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Discontinue any exercise that causes you pain, severe discomfort, nausea, dizziness, or shortness of breath and consult a medical expert. Start slowly and at the level that is appropriate for you. Not all exercise plans are suitable for everyone.

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