Today I'm going to share a basic workout you can do to help strengthen your deep core muscles. Most of the time when we think "core" we tend to think 6-pack abs, but there is really so much more to it. There are a few muscles that lie deeper within your core that help with stability, balance, posture, and can even improve back pain. Those are the muscles this workout is made to target.
It might surprise you how weak our core muscles actually are and how poor our balance really is. Try this, stand up if you're sitting, stand on one leg, good. Now close your eyes! How'd that feel? For most of us it is going to be a bit harder than we expected, myself included.
Here's a workout that can be added to your exercise regimen to help strengthen the core and can easily be done at home. No equipment required!
1. Leg Swings
Start in a standing position with your feet together. Keeping your hips in a neutral position, move your leg forward and backward being sure that your line of movement is directly in front of and behind you. Make sure these are slow and controlled movements. Forward and back is one rep. Do this 20 times on each leg.
For the leg swings to the side, again keep the hips as square as possible. Slowly move the leg away from the body and back to center. The foot does not to come off the ground more than a few inches. Do 20 times on each leg.
With both of these try not step down with the working foot until the end of the set.
**To make this exercise more difficult: Perform leg circles with the foot elevated a few inches off of the floor. Or attempt the exercise with your eyes closed.
2. Single Leg Squat
Begin with one foot in front of your body. As you squat, move your foot forward. Keep your back straight, and don't let your chest fall forward. Push your hips backward performing somewhat of a sitting action. Try to elevate your foot throughout this exercise. Do this 15 times on each side.
Start by laying facedown with your arms above your head. Use your back muscles and glutes to lift your arms, upper chest and lower legs off of the ground. Hold for two seconds, slowly release and return to the starting position with a controlled motion. Do this 20 times.
4. Abdominal Draw In
Start laying on your back with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at your side. While doing this exercise the idea is attempting to pull your belly button towards your spine. If you place your hands on your hip bones when you contract you should be able to feel a slight downward movement. Perform this 20 times, try to hold it for a few second with each repetition.
5. Bird Dog
Here's a good laugh for you...I couldn't help myself!
Begin this exercise on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Extend the opposite arm and leg straight out from the shoulder and hip joints respectively. While doing so keep your spine, hips and shoulders in a neutral position and avoid overarching the back. Your head should be an extension of the spine not looking up or letting your head fall. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Do this 10 times on each side.
6. Side Lunge with Forward Reach
Start with your feet together and hands at chest. (You may wish to use an object such as a medicine ball). As you shift your weight to your right leg extend your arms forward. Push your hips backward as if your are sitting. Push off your right leg and return to the starting position, bringing your arms back to your chest. Repeat this movement on the left. Do this 15 times on each side.
When performing a side plank, your feet should be stacked on top of each other, hips elevated, and shoulders in line. Rest on your elbow avoiding touching the floor with the other hand. Don't let your hips or shoulders fall forward. Hold this until you can not hold it any longer and repeat on the opposite side.
When performing an elbow plank, your elbows should be directly under your shoulders, elbows should be at a 90 degree angle and the weight should be resting in he forearms. The body should maintain a straight line from your head through your heels. Again, hold this until you can no longer hold the position.
Give this workout a try and let me know what you think! I hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll be checking in next Wednesday.