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Get Next Level Core Strength

We’ve all heard about “core strength” and “having a strong core”. But what does it really mean? And how do we get it? Core strength shouldn’t be confused with having a six pack – it’s much more complex than that! You can have a strong core without having visible abs. Your “core” encompasses the muscles in your body that stabilize your spine. The muscles in your back are included in this definition as well – it isn’t all about the abdominals! Why is core strength so important? It trains your muscles to work in harmony with one another. It also helps with balance, looking trim, and injury prevention. So how do you work your core? Check out these exercises below!

1. Bird-Dog

Say what?!? No, this exercise doesn’t have anything to do with birds or dogs. It is, however, a great way to build core stability. Here’s how:

  1. Place a Bosu ball on the ground, flat side down.
  2. Place your right knee in the center of the Bosu.
  3. Put both hands on the floor below you, directly under your shoulders. This is similar to a “tabletop” position.
  4. Simultaneously, raise your right arm out in front of you and extend your left leg out behind you. Keep your raised limbs at hip/shoulder height.
  5. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  6. Rest, and then repeat on the other side using the opposite limbs.
  7. Do 3-4 sets per side.

2. Hip Bridge with March

Now that we’ve worked on core stability, it’s time to work on your lumbo-pelvic stability.

  1. Lie flat on your back.
  2. Place your hands on the ground by the sides of your body.
  3. Place your heels on the ground and bring them several inches away from your glutes.
  4. Lift your hips up by driving through your heels. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
  5. Now, lift one leg off the ground so that 90 degree angles are formed at your hip and knee.
  6. Slowly return that foot back to the ground.
  7. Repeat with the other foot, still keeping your hips in a bridge.
  8. Alternate between lifting your left leg and right leg. Perform 20 reps.
  9. Lower your hips back toward the floor.
  10. Rest for 1 minute. Complete 2-3 more sets.

3. Bosu Plank plus Toe Tap

Time to break out the Bosu ball again! This exercise works on core stability and hip strength.

  1. Place a Bosu ball on the ground, flat side down.
  2. Placing your forearms on the Bosu, rise up into a plank position. Your feet should be touching and your body should form a straight line from head to toe. AKA – don’t let your hips pike or sag. Now, pretend like you are squeezing a grapefruit in between your shoulder blades. Also, imagine that someone is about to punch you in the stomach. These two cues with help you engage your core.
  3. Now here’s where the fun begins! Tap your left foot out to the left of your body and then return it to center. Repeat with the right foot, except this time tapping to your right.
  4. Complete 15 reps each side.
  5. Rest. Then repeat 2-3 more times.

4. Hollow Body Hold.

This one is a doozy!

  1. Lie flat on back with your legs straight out and your arms extended above your head.
  2. Lift your legs toward the sky. Only raise your legs to a point where you are still able to keep your lower back pinned to the floor.
  3. Now, round your upper back so that you’re looking at your toes. You want to contract your abs and bring your belly button in toward the floor.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Rest. Repeat 2-3 times.


You can perform these exercises as a circuit, as a straight set, or choose 1-2 and complete them at the end of your strength workouts.


Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from ACEfitness.org, mayoclinic.org, acefitness.org, fitstream.com

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