Home Exercise – Core Strength

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Core strength improves the posture with better balance of muscle tension to reduce the risk of injuries, thus allowing us to perform better with our body movement!

As the core is the "centre piece" of our body, the rest of the body can have an influence on our posture, in particular the hips and mid-back. This is why many people struggle to develop this area and suffer from many preventable aches and pains due a lack of core strength!

The key principles from pilates are required for a good foundation from which to develop. You may be someone who regularly trains but still struggles to maintain body alignment. I see this often, in particular with increased intensity when exercising or as the body fatigues.

Ultimately there is always a reason for these signs and symptoms, and it's not always coincidental!

I’ve broken down some of the basic and traditional abdominal crunches so you can do them correctly. Done correctly, there should be a transition to conventional exercises to better engage the muscles!

What To Focus On!

  1. Head position - keep that "double chin" throughout the exercise to engage the muscles in the front of the neck
  2. Hip position - hips should be tucked in "posteriorly" (rear side) so that the lower back is flat on the floor with no gap
  3. Rib position - ribs should be kept down from the start position and not flaring out
  4. Ensure you return to this "starting position" in order to keep constant tension on the abdomen region (obliques in particular if the naval and linea alba, ie. between the belly button and centre of chest, are drawn to the spine)

Common Mistake:

Arching of the neck and lower back. This may be the cause for aches in the lower back and the back of the neck when doing these exercises.

Remember: even lifting the head will engage the abdominals

Combinations:

Leg Position

1. Beginner - Both legs bent. One on the floor, one leg raised
2. Intermediate - Bottom leg straight on the floor, top leg raised with the knee bent
3. Advanced - Bottom leg straight above the floor, top leg raised with the knee bent

Even for advanced, I recommend to also include the beginner crunches for more repetitions

Hand position

  1. Hands over shoulders
  2. Hands next to the temple of the head (keeping elbows wide)
  3. Hands straight behind the head

Other combinations using the principles mentioned above

  1. Oblique twists
  2. Reverse leg crunches

Example

Intermediate Leg Position

3 sets of 8 repetitions with each leg combination for those 3 hand combinations

 

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