Core Strengthening

Imagine having difficulty standing back up to vertical position after bending forward, or having difficulty reaching something up in the cabinet without causing lower back pain. It may be due to having poor core muscles strength. Core stability is important not only for optimal sports performance but also for balance and stability, prevention of lower back and hip pain, ability to perform ADLs (activities of daily living) and avoiding injury or muscle strains.

The core muscles are the Pelvic floor muscles, Transversus Abdominis, Multifidus, Internal and External Obliques, Rectus Abdominis, and Erector Spinae. The good news is you don’t need fancy equipment to strengthen your core muscles! One exercise that’s well rounded and can target the core is called the Bridge. On the mat or the floor, bend both your knees and place both hands on your side, squeeze your abdomen and raise your hips from the mat without arching your back or letting it sag. Avoid tilting your hips and making sure your shoulders and knees are aligned. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds and do it 3 sets with 10 repetitions. Another notion with core strengthening is crunches and sits up but if a person already has a hunch over posture, he/she is not doing him/herself a favor by doing such exercise. He/she is making it worse by contracting the Rectus Abdominis even more instead of stretching it from being so short and contracted from the hunch over position. That’s why the Bridge is perfect for counteracting that forward trunk flexion force and giving the Rectus Abdominis the mobility to stretch out and return to its natural muscle form.

Another good core exercise is called the Farmer’s Carry. Farmer’s carry involves holding a dumbbell or Kettlebell on your side but by working on your posture, breathing, and total coordination of the body in movement and not letting the trunk tilt to the side or the front works out your core.

There you have it. Two simple exercises that can tighten your core to help you not only achieve your fitness goals but also to stabilize you and prevent injuries from happening.

 

Rhia Vista, PTA

 

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