Developing Core Stability
The core plays a fundamental role in providing stability, balance and strength to support our everyday movements. Working to build a strong core can help nurture a stable and resilient foundation for optimal fitness and well-being.
Below are five common exercises to help you build a strong and stable core.* With all the following exercises, remember to initiate a core brace before beginning, continue breathing throughout, and discontinue if pain occurs.
*This information is for educational purposes only. Please seek the advice of a chiropractor or other healthcare professional before starting any fitness program.
- Lay on your back with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees and your arms reaching outwards.
- Keep your spine in a neutral position and slowly lower one leg and the opposite arm to the ground. Repeat.
- To make it easier, keep your legs bent when lowering and tap your heel to the ground.
- Lay on your side with your elbow stacked directly under your shoulder. Either on your knees (easier) or on your feet (harder), raise your hips up off the floor until your body is in a diagonal line. Hold.
- Cueing tip: imagine there is a ‘fire under your ribcage’ and you are trying to pull yourself up and away from it.
- On your back with your knees bent and feet planted, scoop your pelvis up under you (posterior pelvic tilt), and raise your hips off the ground. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then repeat.
- Having your feet closer in will work your glutes more, and further out will work your hamstrings.
- On your hands and knees, find a ‘neutral’ spot for your spine (between arched and rounded).
- Move the opposite arm and leg to reach outwards in one long line. Repeat.
- Try to keep your hips level without rotating in your pelvis or shifting to one side.
- Elbows directly under your shoulders, raise your hips up until they are in a straight line with your torso (not too high, though!). Lower extremity contact can be on the balls of your feet (harder) or on your knees (easier). Hold.
- Cueing tip: think about pulling your elbows down towards your hips – this will help engage your core more.
Consistency is key in any aspect of fitness, core stability included. Incorporating specific exercises into your fitness routine and sticking with them for a period of time (at least six weeks) is essential in developing a strong and stable core.
Read the first post in this series, The Importance of Core Stability, and talk to your chiropractor to learn more.
Granacher, U., Muehlbauer, T., Gollhofer, A., & Kressig, R. W. (2022). Effects of core stability training on balance, muscular strength, and functional mobility in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 19(1), 1-19. doi: 10.1186/s11556-022-00289-x.
Sarabon, N., & Rogelj, M. (2022). Effects of core stability exercises on trunk muscle strength and fall incidence in middle-aged and older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 19(1), 1-15. doi: 10.1186/s11556-022-00288-y.
Coulombe BJ, Games KE, Neil ER, Eberman LE. Core Stability Exercise Versus General Exercise for Chronic Low Back Pain. J Athl Train. 2017 Jan;52(1):71-72. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-51.11.16. Epub 2016 Nov 16. PMID: 27849389; PMCID: PMC5293521
Beomryong Kim, Jongeun Yim, Core Stability and Hip Exercises Improve Physical Function and Activity in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial, The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2020, Volume 251, Issue 3, Pages 193-206, Released on J-STAGE July 14, 2020, Online ISSN 1349-3329, Print ISSN 0040-8727, https://doi.org/10.1620/tjem.251.193, https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/251/3/251_193/_article/-char/en