Five Ways To Strengthen Your Core (That Aren’t Sit Ups)

Have you ever heard the old adage that it all starts with your core?

Well, it turns out that’s true in more cases then you probably want to know.

Your core muscles encompass your abs, hips, as well as parts of your back and chest. It helps to stabilize your body. It allows you to move freely in any direction while providing balance and stability to your axial skeleton.

It acts as a pillar of support and fine-tunes your balance, preventing falls, and supporting your body to function correctly.

Strengthening your core can improve your balance and stability. This helps improve your efficiency, even in simple tasks like walking, running, and sitting. It will also make you less susceptible to injuries and misalignments that put strain on areas such as your back and hips.

With a strong core and better alignment, your back muscles won’t need to work as hard to support your body. This decreases the amount of wear and tear on your spine, which means less back pain.

A strong core can even improve your ability to breathe deeply and exercise at a higher output.

All that sounds great, so how do you get a strong core?

Thankfully, it’s not sit-ups.

Actually, studies have shown that the sit-ups can put unnecessary strain on areas of the low back, especially if done incorrectly.

Because of that, we recommend five sit-up alternatives that dynamically strengthen your core, while reducing strain on your lower back and hip flexors.

All the benefits with none of the risks of injury.

It’s also important to target all the core muscles to provide a stable platform across your trunk. This includes everything from you transverse abdominals to your obliques (side abs).

Want a stronger core. Try these five exercises:

Exercise #1

Plank

How to: Lie facedown on your mat with your legs fully extended, resting on your forearms with your elbows bent, directly under your shoulders. Your palms flat on the mat. 

Your feet should be placed hip-width apart and your elbows should be placed should-width apart.

Engage your core and tuck your toes so that you lift your body while leaving your forearms firmly grounded on your mat, holding your body into the air.

Hold for 30 to 60 seconds on, rest for a minute. and repeat.

Exercise #2

Hollow Rock

Hollow Rocks are great for your core but can be considered a little more of an advanced move.

To get started, lie on your back and bring your arms above your head, shoulders at your ears.

Point your toes out and elongate your body as much as possible.

To “rock”, lift your extended legs up into the air, and as they drop, pivot on your lower back, lifting your head, arms, and chest into the air.

Rock back and forth, keeping your spine straight and your body tight. Rock back as many times as possible.

Exercise #3

Dead Bug

Starting Position: For this exercise, you will be lying on your back on your mat. Bring your arms straight above your head, perpendicular to the ground, pointing towards the sky. Lift your legs into the air, with a 90-degree bend in your knees.

Getting Into Action: Begin to lower and at the same time extend and lower the right leg until both your arm and legs are an inch off the ground. Extend both as far out as possible and ensure your core is fully engaged and then return back to your starting position. Repeat with your opposite arm and leg.

Exercise #4

Side Plank Crunch

Begin this core crusher in a side plank, resting on your left forearm and elbow• Begin in a side elbow plank with your left elbow down and your right hand behind your head.
• Keeping your torso stable and your hip lifted, bring your right leg up toward your shoulder to lightly tap your right elbow.
• Lengthen your right leg back to the starting position to complete one rep.
• Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and perform the exercise on the other side.

Useful Tips:
• Don’t hold your breath! Breathe normally.
• Engage and tighten your core to maintain balance.
• Don’t let your hips drop.

Exercise #5

Bird Dog

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