Strengthening your core can improve your ability to do everything from carrying groceries to protecting yourself from injury during a workout. Your core is more than just your abdominal muscles — it includes your abs, lower back, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
One of the most effective exercises to strengthen your core is the plank; it also improves your posture, balance, and overall fitness
Lie on your stomach. Raise your upper body by resting on your elbows with your hands facing down and away from you. Engage your abdominal muscles, glutes, and leg muscles, and raise your lower body up onto your toes by pulling your shoulder blades back and together. Look down at the ground, keeping your head and body rigid and in a straight line. Do not round or collapse your shoulders or hips.
Hold this position as long as you can. Few people can hold it for longer than 30 seconds, initially. Work up to holding the position for 1 minute.
For more of a challenge the plank can be done with your arms fully extended. Or try a side plank. Lie on your right side with your legs straight, in line with your spine, and stacked on top of one another. Bend your right arm and raise your torso, placing your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Keeping your spine straight and your head aligned with your spine, engage your core and raise your hips. Hold. Repeat on your left side.
April 10, 2015
Janet O’Dell, RN