Top Five Ways to Strengthen your Core

If you’re asked which muscles make up your core, you might instinctively point to your stomach. But while your abdominal muscles are a key component, your core comprises all the muscles within the trunk of your body.

Your core muscles are as follows:

Abdominals (stomach muscles)
Obliques (sides)
Quadratus lumborum (lower back)
Erector spinae and multifidus (back)
Pelvic floor
Glutes (backside)

Why should you train your core?

If you think about pretty much every single movement you make on a day-to-day basis – from getting out of bed in the morning, to reaching for a mug in the cupboard, to running 5K – you’ll see your core muscles are heavily involved. So working to strengthen them is going to help improve pretty much every aspect of your life. Benefits of a strong core include:

  • Increased stability
  • Better balance
  • Improved posture
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Better form while exercising

Key moves to strengthen your core

The following six moves are all great for strengthening your core muscles, and by adding them to your weekly strength and conditioning sessions, you should notice a difference in your posture, strength, and stability quickly:

Full Plank with Hand Slide

  • Wrap an exercise band around your wrists.
  • Go into a plank position, resting on your hands and toes.
  • Slide one arm away from your body and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Try to avoid arching your lower back during the exercise.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat three times.

Side plank

  • Lie on your side, feet stacked one on top of the other, resting your weight on your elbow.
  • Bracing your core, push your hips up and off the floor to form a straight line with your body.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds, repeating twice on each side.

Glute Bridge

  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
  • Bracing your core, lift your hips up to the ceiling, until you form a straight line between your shoulders, hips, and knees.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Mountain climbers

  • Start in a high plank position, with your core muscles braced.
  • Lift your right foot off the floor and bring your knee to your chest.
  • Return your right foot to the floor and immediately lift your left foot off the floor, bringing your left knee to your chest.
  • Keep alternating between left and right, for 8-12 reps. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Double Leg raises

  • Lie on the floor, pressing your lower back into the floor and bracing your core muscles with your arms overhead and your toes pointing forwards.
  • Stretch through your arms, engage your core, and slowly raise your legs off the floor until they are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Pause briefly and then gently lower them back to the floor with control.
  • Perform 8-12 reps. Repeat 3 to 5 times.