Core stability is essential to the body’s function and alignment. Proper development of core stability creates a foundation for all movement while protecting the spine and its discs from injury.
The following are four ways to improve your core stability. Performing these exercises over time increases the strength of the stabilizers, neutralizers, and prime movers of the body.
This exercise strengthens the hip extensor muscles, which helps to improve core stability. Weak gluteal muscles and hip stabilizers are a common cause of low-back and other issues.
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Imagine pushing the ground away from you as you raise your hips up towards the ceiling until they’re aligned with the knees and shoulders.
Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze the muscles on the backside. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for at least 10 repetitions. Perform one to three sets of this exercise to achieve its full benefits.
The transverse abdominis (TVA) muscle is the deepest abdominal muscle and extends around the trunk. Contraction of the TVA results in drawing the navel in towards the spine.
Proper function of the TVA provides the pelvis and spine with the stability needed to perform all movements. This exercise increases the resting tone of the TVA muscle so that you have ongoing trunk stability.
Lie on your back and inhale. As you exhale, slowly draw the belly button inward without flexing your trunk. Hold for approximately five seconds and then inhale as you relax the TVA and you return to a resting position.
This exercise works the muscles of the abdomen, hips, back, and shoulders. These muscles work together to create static and dynamic core stability.
Begin by positioning yourself in a 4-point stance (hands and knees on the ground). Maintain a neutral position of the spine and keep the elbows slightly bent and pointing back.
Contract the TVA muscle by drawing the abdomen in and maintaining that position as you raise one arm and its opposite leg.
The arm and leg should be positioned parallel to the upper body. Hold for three to five seconds before returning to the starting position.
The plank exercise is slightly more advanced and requires adequate core strength to perform it correctly. Lie face down on the floor and hold your entire body up by resting on your forearms and toes.
Keep your body in a straight line and contract the TVA muscle to stabilize the pelvis and spine. Continue breathing normally as you hold this position as long as you can with good form.
These four exercises improve your core stability and increase the strength of the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen, and shoulders. Using these exercises helps you develop a stronger body while minimizing any risk of future injury or pain.