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  • Susannah Money-Schenk

Core Strengthening - Exercises for Beginners

Before starting these exercises I strongly advise that you read my blogs on core strength anatomy, creating a neutral spine and the connection breath. By reading these you will be familiar with the terminology used in this blog and be prepared to start exercising to strengthen your core!

The following 5 exercises are designed to gently start to strength the important core muscles which help to stabilise your spine. If you are unsure if they are appropriate for you please do drop me a message and we can run through your options!

Exercise 1 - Single leg slides

  • Starting position - Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the mat

  • Ensure your feet and hips are line and you have a neutral spine

  • Exhale and engage core by pulling up on your pelvic floor and gently back with you lower abdominals

  • Slowly slide one leg straight along the floor and then back to the starting position

  • Make sure that you spine stays in neutral the whole time

  • Repeat with the other leg

  • Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions per leg

Exercise 2 - Table Top Press

  • Lying on you back, engage your core and raise one leg at a time until they are both in a table top position - hips and knees bent at 90 degrees

  • Check that your spine is in neutral

  • Place your hands on your upper thighs and gently press against them - make sure you keep your core engaged and your spine in neutral at all times

  • Keeping breathing - due to abdominal engagement you will be breathing higher up into your chest. Use this time to feel your abs expanding with each in breath. This will help to mobilise your ribs.

  • Resist the pressure of your hands for 10 secs and slowly lower one leg at a time to the floor.

  • Repeat 3 more times

  • If this is easy you can add 5 secs each tie you do it. It you start to lose form then remove 5 seconds until you are stronger in that time frame

Exercise 3 - Toe Taps

  • Lying on you back engage your core and bring one leg at a time up to table top as in exercise 2

  • Ensure that you core is engaged and your spine is in neurtral

  • Slowly lower one foot towards the ground to tap it with your toes and then raise it back up to table top again

  • Recheck you spine and core engagement

  • Repeat with the other leg

  • Breath in as you lower each leg - makes sure you keep your abs switched on - this will mean that you will be engaging your diaphragm to form the lid of your core as you add the extra pressure of the weight of your leg. Breathe out as you raise each leg making sure to recheck your pelvic floor involvement here

  • Complete 5 reps each side for 3 sets - if this feels easy and you can maintain from increase it to 8-10 reps each side

Exercise 4 - Dead Bugs

  • Starting position - Lie on you back with your legs at table top as in Exercises 2 and 3, but this time with your arms straight up towards the sky

  • Check you neutral spine and core activation

  • Slowly lower your right leg and left arm straight towards the ground, return to the starting position

  • Repeat with the opposite diagonal pair - checking your core activation and neutral spine with each rep

  • Complete 5 reps each side for 3 sets - if this feels easy and you can maintain from increase it to 8-10 reps each side

Exercise 5 - Superman

  • Start position - Start in a four point kneeling position - hands under shoulders and knees under hips

  • Create a neutral spine and engage your core

  • Slowly raise you your right arm up in front of you as you raise you left leg straight out behind you

  • Ensure that you have kept your spine in neutral and kept you core engaged - try not to arch through the lower back

  • Squeeze the gluts of the leg being raised

  • Hold for a count of 3 and lower to the start position

  • Repeat with the opposite diagonal pair

  • Complete 5 reps each side for 3 sets - if this feels easy and you can maintain from increase it to 8-10 reps each side

I would suggest using these workouts as core circuit twice a week. A strong core is optimum for good movement in all activities we do from walking to weightlifting. If you have a particular activity that you are training for and would like to learn more specific exercises for you sport please do contact me for a personalised plan!



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