The core muscles in the human body often receive less credit than they deserve. When they’re strong, so is our endurance, stability, balance, and strength.
But when these muscles are weak it impacts the entire body. From physical labor to sports to simply maintaining a good posture, people will struggle with many daily life activities if they don’t take care of them.
Yet this is exactly what happens. Lower back pain is a common ailment for Americans. In fact, it’s the fifth most common cause for US citizens to pick up the phone and set an appointment with a primary physician.
So how do you improve or prevent lower back pain, injury, and fatigue? The answer starts with implementing the best core exercises for your body.
Why Your Core Muscles Matter
A human’s core muscles are used in the majority of physical actions. Whether a person is standing up, swinging a golf club, or mopping the floor, he or she is constantly engaging the set of muscles located in the trunk of their body and pelvis.
As you strengthen your core, you strengthen your mobility. Twisting, bending, reaching, sitting, and simply holding oneself upright are actions made easier by the hard work of these muscles.
However, when these muscles grow weak, everyday actions became more arduous and even risky. Pulled muscles, back injuries, and other painful consequences start to become more frequent if you do not make a point to keep them in shape.
The Best Core Exercises to Include in Your Workout Routine
So how does one give these crucial muscles a boost? By integrating the best core exercises and low impact ab workouts, men and women can build and maintain a strong core that will carry them through life’s daily challenges.
Below are some exercises to consider. All of them can be done at home without the need for weights or special equipment. Instead, they focus on specific motions geared toward strengthening and stabilizing the core muscles.
Remembering to Engage the Core
To engage the core, exercisers simply need to consciously tuck their belly button toward their spine using their abdominal muscles.
When the core is engaged, the individual will feel a tightening around the midsection caused by the muscles growing taut.
However, this should not impede upon breathing. Controlled breaths should continue rhythmically. Inhale during spinal extensions and exhale upon each spinal flexion.
This is referred to as lateral breathing. It allows you to breathe deeply while engaging your core and maximize your oxygen intake.
Lateral breathing should be utilized throughout the entire exercise session. It is important to be conscious of this, as it plays a pivotal part in core exercises. Without it, a person fails to fully engage the muscles he or she is trying to strengthen.
Rising into The Bridge
The bridge is a flexible exercise that not only arches the back but also strengthens the gluteus muscles. This engages muscles used in walking as well as brings stability to the lower back.
Here is how it works:
- Lie flat on the ground, head up, and feet set apart hip-length
- Place both hands palms down with arms straight but relaxed
- Engage core muscles
- Plant both feet upon the floor and lift until your torso and thighs are straight and aligned
- Slowly lower oneself back down in a controlled manner
- Repeat as necessary
Those just starting out can do 3 sets of 5. However, individuals can increase repetitions and sets based on his or her strength level and condition.
Lateral Leg Raises Performed While Lying Down
Lateral leg raises strengthen leg muscles in a way that improves leg mobility as well as balance. It engages the gluteus medius.
To perform this exercise, one must follow these steps:
- Lie balanced on one size
- The bottom leg should be bent slightly for balance
- Straighten the top leg and engage core muscles
- Lift the top leg up and hold it for two seconds
- Lower down, then repeat
- Upon the completion of a set, reverse sides and repeat
It is recommended to start with 10 repetitions on each side.
Achieving The Superman
The Superman is a core workout that lengthens the spine while really working the core muscles from shoulders to hips. Practicing this exercise regularly will improve one’s posture, spine flexibility, and spinal and pelvic support.
To do the Superman, simply follow these steps:
- Lie flat with stomach facing down and legs straight back
- Extend both arms forward above the head, shoulder-width apart
- Elevate both hands and feet approximately 6 inches above the ground
- Keep all core muscles engaged while looking at the floor so the spine and neck are straight
- Hold this for at least 2 seconds
- Slowly lower both hands and feet back down to the ground in a controlled manner
- Repeat as necessary
Start with 10 repetitions, each one held for two seconds, but feel free to adjust the number of repetitions and hold times or add additional sets based on one’s personal condition and level of strength.
Practicing Partial Curls
Partial curls go straight for the abdominal muscles. It’s a way to hone them and promote better spine support. Strong abs also have the ability to help keep hips aligned.
To practice this exercise, follow these steps:
- Lie on the ground belly-up with both knees bent
- Cross both hands over the chest to avoid accidentally using them as support during the exercise
- Breathe in and engage core muscles
- Slowly and in a controlled manner, lift both shoulders simultaneously off the ground
- Do not tuck in the chin. Instead, keep the head aligned with the spine
- Rise up a few inches, then slowly and in a controlled manner lower back down
- Repeat as necessary
It is recommended to start with 3 sets of 10 for this exercise and adjust as needed.
For Those Who Need Extra Support
Sometimes even the best core exercises aren’t enough. For individuals who need additional muscle, spinal, and posture support, consider Back-a-Line. This patented brace can help relieve pain and improve your spinal mechanics.
With a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, you can try it risk-free!