5 Core Exercises: Strengthen the Abdominal Muscles

There are 29 muscles that make up the core and immense possibilities to strengthen it. We leave suggestions for exercises for the core that we consider essential.

Recently, the term “ core” has gained fame and is practical in any training program, whether it is high-competition or simply for maintenance. The exercises for the core are indicated not only by professional exercise but also by physical therapists – to strengthen the number of key muscle groups to well-being and sports performance.

The so-called core is a group of muscles located in the abdomen, essentially responsible for supporting and stabilizing the lumbar spine. A more detailed description is that the core represents an integrated unit composed of 29 pairs of muscles that support the hip, pelvis and lumbar.

Thus, the main muscles of this group can be considered the diaphragm, the pelvic floor muscles (coccygeus, iliococcygeus, iliococcygeus, pubococcygeus, piriformis, puborectal and levator ani), transverse abdominal and multifidus.

Core Strengthening Exercises

5 Fundamental Exercises For the Core

1. Board touching shoulders

  • On his stomach, he rests on his hands and maintains a neutral lower back posture, focusing on the abdominal contraction.
  • Touch alternately with one hand on the opposite shoulder.
  • When touching the shoulders, avoid moving the hip and body sideways.
  • The only movement should be the moving hand to touch the opposite shoulder.

2. Elevation of the legs

  • Lie on your back with your hands extended along your torso, with the palm of your hand on the ground.
  • The lower back must always be in contact with the ground.
  • With both legs straight and together, swing them up and down like a pendulum without touching the ground again.
  • Please note: this movement should not cause lower back pain. If this happens, you should place your hands to support your lower back and/or not lower your legs so much in the pendulum movement.

Proper and effective activation of these muscles, with the help of core exercises, is essential to protect the lumbar spine from harmful overload.

Many of the everyday movements, even the simplest ones, require activation of the core muscles. If there is no such activation, these muscles do not fulfil their protective role and the body feels the need to recruit other muscle groups to stabilize the lumbar spine, which will cause imbalances, low back pain, poor posture and, often, imbalances at the level motor.

3. Isometric V-shaped Abdominal

  • In a sitting position, you should relax your shoulders and extend your arms forward, perpendicular to your torso.
  • You must stretch your legs, lifting them off the ground.
  • Keep the position as static as possible, inhaling and exhaling slowly, slowly and in a controlled manner.
  • If you are very demanding to do this exercise with your legs extended, you should do it with your knees bent until you are able to advance to the next demanding level.

When talking about core, reference is made to the set of muscle groups that provide pelvic and lumbar stability and, as such, efficiently promote the balance between the lower and upper limbs of the body.

4. Static Superman

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • With your head facing the ground, in order to maintain a neutral neck position, stretch and raise your arms along the shoulder line, above your head.
  • Stretch and lift both legs together, pointing with your toes back.
  • Keep the position as static as possible, inhaling and exhaling slowly, slowly and in a controlled manner.

Core stability can help protect you from many types of injuries, particularly in the spine.

In case you experience any discomfort or a muscle deviation or imbalance is detected in the back, such as scoliosis, lordosis or other excessive increase in any of the physiological curvatures of the spine, muscle work in the middle area will trigger a more upright and correct posture, performing these exercises for the core.
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In this way, it is possible to avoid the terrible back pain caused by possible pathologies.

The simple fact that there is a modification in the physiological curvatures of the back leads to exercises with repetitive bendings that generate unnecessary stress and that can cause different spinal pathologies. Thus, the choice of exercises for the isometric core, that is, without any type of movement, is assumed to be a safer and more effective choice, not only in these types of situations but even for those who perform them in a sports performance aspect.

5. Sideboard with hand support

  • With one hand resting on the floor, and the arm fully extended, align that same hand with the shoulder.
  • Lift your hips, with your body turned sideways, placing one foot on the other, with both legs straight.
  • Maintain the position statically, with slow and controlled breathing, placing the opposite arm outstretched in line with the shoulder, almost as if drawing a star.
  • If it is too difficult to hold this position at an early stage, bend your leg closer to the ground and support your knee, keeping your hip elevated and in a static position.

In addition to these exercises for the core, it is also essential to carry out, as a complement, functional training exercises, for example, or other options in which movement is produced in the more distant body segments. With these functional exercises, the secondary contraction of the core muscles is sought, from instabilities generated with unilateral loads.

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