One of the key tenets of fitness and wellness is to have a strong core. If you’re interested in working towards a stronger, healthier body, building core strength should be a central part of your regimen.
What is your core?
While many people talk about having six-pack abs, the experts at Michigan Physiquality member HealthQuest Physical Therapy note that it’s actually your deep abdominals that are so important for core strength – the lower abdominal muscles, the diaphragm (yes, the one at the base of your lungs), your obliques, the small muscles of the spine, and the pelvic floor.
Why is your core important?
The core’s primary function is to stabilize your spine and trunk so that you can move your arms and legs. Without core strength, it’s much harder to generate movement and power from your extremities to move quickly. In addition, building core strength reduces your chance of injury.
So how do I build core strength?
Pinnacle Physical Therapy, a Physiquality member in Northern California, suggests this simple series of exercises to strengthen your core.
The series includes:
- Wall slides, which target your glutes and quadriceps, as well as your core.
- Side planks, which work on your deep back, hip, and oblique muscles. These can be done at first with legs bent, as shown in the video, progressing to straight legs and then a straight arm to increase difficulty.
- Bridges to strengthen your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. As bridging becomes easier, add in a leg extension while your back is off the ground, lowering your leg again before lowering your back.
- Alternating leg extensions, which target your hip flexors and lower abdominal muscles. To increase difficulty, extend both legs at the same time.
Want to talk to a physical therapist about strengthening your body and improving your health? Use our locator below to find a Physiquality physical therapist near you.
Thank you to our contributors:
HealthQuest Physical Therapy is a Physiquality member with more than 25 locations throughout Michigan. Started by Bill Knight and Stuart Siegner in 1999, their goals remain the same as when they opened their first clinic: provide high-quality rehabilitation and promote proactive healthcare.
Physiquality member Pinnacle Physical Therapy is in Angels Camp, California. Founded in 1993, the team at Pinnacle promises one-on-one appointments where PTs will design and implement an individualized physical therapy care plan that will achieve optimal function and excellent outcomes.
Exercises to improve your core strength. Mayo Clinic, August 11, 2020.
Core strengthening exercise progression. Pinnacle Physical Therapy, May 2014.
Core strengthening. HealthQuest Physical Therapy.
“Six pack with two on the side.” by Heath Cajandig is marked with CC BY 2.0.