According to Scott Capelin, a professional physique trainer, you must keep your core muscles in utmost condition as it is something we all make the best use of all day. Your core is surrounded by multiple muscles, some of which are erector spinae, obliques, multifidus and transversus abdominis. Other muscles that form the core strength are glutes, hip flexors, diaphragm, hip abductors and adductors, pelvic floor and hamstrings. You can strengthen your core through various exercises that can improve posture, especially if you have a desk-bound job and can also prevent injury.
Let’s take a look at the 8 best exercises recommended by Scott Capelin that can help you improve your core strength, giving your spine the ability to support your upper body and keep good posture.
1. Standing Side Crunch
Standing side crunch helps to tighten the entire side abdominal wall, increase strength and improve balance. It is a good exercise for those that have difficulty with floor exercises. This is how you do standing side crunch.
Stand with your toes pointing forward and with your feet shoulder-width apart. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, your fingertips should be placed at the side of your temples with your elbows pointing out the sides. This is to avoid pulling your head sideways or forwards with your hands.
Lean your weight on one leg, pull in your stomach tight to get your core to engage and bend to one side with your elbow fixed as you bring up your knee to meet with your elbow(right elbow to left knee and left elbow to right knee). Ensure to keep your spine aligned and avoid bending forward or backwards.
Your hips should be kept in place to avoid swinging back and forth and look straight. Return to the first position with your foot on the floor and repeat the same procedure to the other side.
2. Plank Exercise
Plank is one of the best core strength exercises that offer various versions. Apart from your core plank also target body parts like arms, glutes, shoulders and legs.
To do this exercise:
You have to go on all fours and place your hands directly under your shoulders (a little bit wider than your shoulder width) as if you want to do a push-up. Squeeze glutes and ground your toes into the floor to stabilize your body. Ensure your legs are working and avoid locking your knees or extending them beyond the normal range of motion. Neutralize the spine and neck by focusing on a spot on the floor that should be about one foot beyond your hands. And your hand should align with your back as you hold this position.
3. Dead Bug Exercise
Dead bugs seem to be an easy exercise but are one of the best core exercises one can do.
Lie down on your back with your arms extended to the ceiling and your knee bent to 90 degrees. Focus on engaging your core and keep your lower back in contact with the floor to get the desired result. Ensure there is no space between the floor and your back. Slowly lower one leg as you exhale until the heel almost touches the floor and at the same time you should lower the opposite arm to the floor overhead. Inhale as you return both leg and arm to starting position, then repeat the same with the opposite leg and arm.
4. Decline Crunch
Though this exercise is quite challenging it is worth the effort. Lie on a bench in a decline position and secure your legs and knee. You can start at around 30 to 45 degrees just to see how it feels. Concentrate on your abs during the exercise by using them to lift your torso towards your thighs.
5. Superman Exercise
This is another effective core improvement exercise. Go on all fours to start and extend your right leg and left arm at the same time and do the same to your left leg and right arm. Ensure you engage your core as you perform the movement nice and slow.
6. Pelvic Bridge
It is an exercise that maintains hip muscle balance and strengthens the lower back, says Scott Capelin. Lie on your back with knees bent as you slowly raise as high as possible your buttocks and pelvis off the floor. Hold the position and repeat the process.
7. Commando Plank
It is a good exercise that focuses on the upper body. You can start by taking an elbow plank position with your arms directly below the shoulders. Keep your head neutral and use one arm and then the other to move into standard plank position and go back to elbow position.
8. Crunch Exercise
Crunches help to strengthen your core and reduce lower back pain. Bend your knees to make your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, hold your elbows out to the sides, pull your abdominals in gently. Then lift your upper back keeping your feet, lower back, feet and pelvis on the floor. Hold this position for as long as you can and slowly lower the upper back on the floor.