Our body’s capability to ensure a stable neutral spine position is related to proper strength and efficiency. If the core is stable, we can perform functions more precisely as stabilization is imperative for proper load balance within the kinetic chain, backbone, and pelvis.
But what is the so-called core in our body?
The core is a group of trunk muscles around our spine and abdominal viscera. These trunk muscles include the abdominal muscles, gluteal, hip girdle, and paraspinal, which are important in providing spinal stability.
There are various exercises a person can perform in order to strengthen these core muscles. Such core stabilization exercises can help in lumbar stabilization and are also suggested by the experts doing physiotherapy in Richmond Hill for the treatment of lower back pain and similar musculoskeletal conditions. Before we learn more about the different core stabilization exercises, let’s first learn in detail about why we need to stabilize our core.
Why Do You Need to Strengthen Core Stability?
The core is the central part of our body. It includes the hips, pelvis, lower back, and stomach. Even though core stability training or exercises were initially introduced for back pain prevention or therapy, it has now become an active mode of training for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and people who love to stay fit. The core exercises help the muscles in your core to work together, which is imperative for better balance and stability.
By training these muscles around your hip, abdomen and more, you improve the load transfer muscles that are attached to your pelvic and lumbar. Thus it enhances your core stability and creates a stable proximal base, providing more control and positioning of the lower extremity for increased functional movements and loads. Moreover, it also strengthens your muscles and reduces the risk of injury or other conditions such as lower back pain.
Core Stabilization Through Exercices
Improving the stability of your core through exercise is widely recommended by doctors and physical therapists to treat and prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Multifaceted prevention programs including core stabilization exercises can strengthen your core and improve your posture, it is also significantly effective in reducing the extremity of back injuries.
Below are some of the top core stabilization exercises that can be easily done at home along with your current workout routine.
1) The BOSU Bird Dog Exercises
The bird dog exercise is one of the most effective core stabilization exercises. As the name indicates, you will need a BOSU ball also known as a dome to perform this exercise.
Step 1: Set your right knee on the center of the dome.
Step 2: Keep both your hands on the floor aligned to the shoulders (directly beneath the shoulder in a straight line).
Step3: Extend your left leg behind you to hip height and keep the foot flexed.
Step 4: Extend your right arm to shoulder height while your thumb faces the ceiling.
Hold this position for at least 20 seconds and then switch sides. Follow the above steps for the other hand and leg.
2) Supine Toe Taps
This is a more simple exercise and it does not need any equipment. Although you might need a mat because you will have to lie on your back the entire time.
Step 1: Lie flat on a gym mat and place both your arms by your sides.
Step 2: Put a little pressure on your abdominals and draw the navel toward your spine.
Step 3: Lift both your knees to a 90 degree angle at the same time.
Step 4: After holding the position for two seconds, slowly lower your right foot to touch the floor.
Step 5: Keep your foot on the floor for 2 seconds and then return it back to 90 degrees.
Step 6: Repeat the same movement with your left leg.
Continue to alternatively place both the right and then the left foot onto the floor. Perform ten repetitions on each leg.
3) Marching Hip Bridge
For this exercise, you will need no equipment other than a gym mat. The exercise is similar to Supine Toe Taps but you will also have to move your hips.
Step 1: Similar to Supine Toe Taps, lie on your back and place both your hands by your sides.
Step 2: Slowly lift your hips off the floor and hold a hip bridge.
Step 3: While holding the hip bridge, lift the left foot off the floor to 90 degrees angle at the hip and knee.
Step 4: After holding the position for 2 seconds, slowly return the left foot to the initial position.
Step 5: Repeat the same with your right foot while still keeping your hip off the floor.
Make sure to keep the hips lifted all the time while alternatively moving both your legs. Perform at least 20 repetitions for both legs.
4) Stability Ball Deadbugs
For this exercise, you will require a gym ball also known as a stability ball. The name of the ball itself indicates that it is effective for stability. The stability ball is used in most core stabilization exercises.
Step 1: Lie on your back and lift both your knees to a 90 degree angle.
Step 2: Raise both your hands straight such that it is in parallel with your knees. Make sure to keep your hands aligned with your shoulders.
Step 3: Place a stability ball on your knees while still holding both knees at 90 degrees.
Step 4: Press both your hands to the ball while slowly pushing the ball back with your knees.
Step 5: Now slowly take your left hand and right knee off the ball and lay them flat (or extend them straight) on the floor.
Step 6: Wait for 2 seconds and bring the knee and hand back to the ball.
Step 7: Repeat the same step for your left knee and right hand.
Complete 10 repetitions on each side and make sure to hold your legs at a 90 degree angle without moving your hips.
5) Single-Legged Deadlift
To perform this exercise, you will need a set of 5kg dumbbells.
Step 1: Hold the dumbbells in both your hands and stand upright.
Step 2: Keep both your feet apart at a hip-distance.
Step 3: Slowly extend the left foot backwards off the floor and hinge the pelvis to bring both your hands straight to your right feet.
Step 4: Your head and the left foot should be aligned in a straight line.
Step 5: Try to bring your body down such that your left foot and torso is parallel to the floor.
Similarly, repeat the exercise for your other leg and complete twelve repetitions on each leg.
The above mentioned core stability exercises can not only improve your body strength and efficiency but can also correct your posture and body balance. Professional physical therapists also leverage different core stabilization techniques to improve the neuromuscular control, endurance, and strength of muscles that are imperative to maintaining dynamic spinal stability. Therefore, core stabilization is a very important element of our physical and mental well-being. However, before taking up a new exercise routine, make sure to consult with your doctors first.
Cindy Williams is a blogger in Canada. She graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.