Core strengthening exercises and core stability exercises are essential to your general health, and to your workout program.
Twist. Turn. Bend over. Sit all day. Get in and out of the car. Carry those groceries. We put our back through all kinds of stuff, and it never complains. Or does it? If we’re out of shape in our core muscles, our back will let us know pretty quick. The core muscles support the lower back and internal organs, and if we stop taking care of them, like most of us have, we are in for some soreness and more and more days of pain the longer we let it go on.
And in the weightroom, if we ever get there, we are at risk for straining the low back with every move we make.
So what are some good core strengthening exercises?
- Pilates. You can do any Pilates workout and you will come out ahead. I’ve used Pilates for years to keep the old middle tight and strong. Pilates has a sort of “girls only” reputation for some reason, but take it from me, guys; this is serious exercise.
- The Farmer’s Walk. What’s this? It’s just carrying heavy stuff around, like farmers have done for many years. Grab two heavy things, like big dumbbells, and carry them over to the other side of the room and back. That’s all. You’ll strengthen your entire body, especially your core, which will have to work hard to keep you balanced.
- The Wood Chopper. Hold a medicine ball in both hands over your head and off to one side. Then, as if you were chopping wood, swing it down and over toward the opposite foot. Then swing it back up along the same path. Do that several times, and switch sides. Make sure you use your legs and hips to help keep your back from bending too much.
- Saxon Bends. Ooh baby. If you do these right, they can be tough. Grab a weight plate, and hold it over your head (standing). Now sway over to the right, being careful not to bend forward or backward. Go as far as you can and still stay stable. Now go back over to the other side. Once you get back to the center, that’s one rep.
These exercises are a great warmup for a weight training workout. They’ll warm up the whole body, and you can step away from the treadmill. Or, just devote a whole workout to core strengthening exercises; your back will thank you!