From yesterday’s post we know what the strong core position is, so let’s rename it “neutral spine.” Now we can talk about some more challenging exercises for your core. Before you begin, make sure you can find your neutral spine position whether you are sitting, standing or squatting. Also be sure to draw in/contract your abdominals without holding your breath. If you cannot do these, look back at “Core strength position” from yesterday.
The two keys of core strengthening as I have instructed so far are the neutral spine position and the abdominal contraction. If you have trouble with either one of those, spend some time practicing until you can do them both properly. The tendency with the abdominal contraction is to hold your breath and to tighten other muscles (such as buttocks, pelvic floor, etc). But work on isolating the deep abdominals, which are so important for your core strength and low back pain prevention. Here are some more core exercises.
Quadruped (hands and knees position): Get onto the floor or bed on your hands and knees. Find your neutral spine position. Draw in your abdominals. Slowly lift up one arm (it does not have to be very high) in front of you. Hold it for 5, 10 or up to 30 seconds. Repeat for the other arm. If it is easy, hold for 30 seconds. Only hold as long as you can maintain the proper back position. Alternate arm lifts for 1-2 minutes. If it is really easy, skip to the next step. Just make sure it is done with perfect technique first.
Next, try lifting one leg by kicking it backwards (do not kick so high that you lose your neutral back position). Hold for 5, 10 or up to 30 seconds. Repeat for the other leg. Alternate leg lifts for 1-2 minutes. If you need more of a challenge, increase your hold times with each kick. Do not forget to focus on your neutral spine position and your deep abdominal contraction. Technique is the most important part of these exercises. Practice for a few minutes per day until you can do them properly with 30 second hold times
To be continued!