Core Strength Exercises

Click on an exercise for pictures, instructions and a printable PDF version for your convenience

Mountain Pose

Neutral Position

 

Mountain Pose or ‘Neutral Position’ is the posture you want to be in during EVERY exercise. To begin, look at the 4 spots on the bottom of your foot: two on the heel and two on the forefoot (see below).

 

  •  Stand feet width apart with your weight evenly distributed on the 4 spots on each foot.

  •  Your knees will be slightly bent and unlocked

  •  Tilt your pelvis in, contracting your lower abdomen *You do not want your buttocks sticking out

  •  Bring your shoulders back and down, palms facing forward

  •  Bring your chin back to where your ears are directly over your shoulders and look slightly up

 

 

Dyna Disc Balancing Neuromuscular Re-Education 

This will help all the small muscles within the body and the spine to stabilize itself so you're better able to use the small muscles to balance vs the bigger muscles. 

 

  • Place the dina disc on the floor directly in front of you

  • Once you are in Neutral Position, step onto the dinadisc

  • Contracting the core will you help stabilize

  • 2 minute reps with 4 sets is your goal. Start with 2-3 sets and work your way up to 2 minutes with good form/posture. If you are unable to hold proper form/posture during your exercise, you are not performing the exercise correctly and may be hurting yourself. If you are unsure or your form, please consult with Dr. Schroeder. 

 

**Once you are comfortable and able to balance on the dyna disc, try balancing on the wobble board, keeping your core contracted

 

Seated Balance Work

 

 

  • Begin seated in neutral position

  • Thighs will be parallel with the floor.

  • Sit midway to the front of the ball and make sure you have a 90 degree angle between your knees and your thighs

  • Tuck your pelvis in, contracting your core

  • Bring your shoulder blades back and down with your ears over the shoulders.

  • Bring your chin back and look up slightly

  • 2 minute reps with 4 sets is goal. Start with 2-3 sets and work your way up to 2 minutes with good form/posture

 

 

*Once you have mastered neutral position while sitting on the ball, place a dinadisc or a wobble board underneath your feet. This extra instability will make your pelvis work harder. Remember, with the pelvis forward slightly, you are engaging your abdominal area. Hands will be by your sides with palms facing forward. 

  • Sit on the ball in neutral position

  • Contract your core and allow the ball to slightly roll forward, then tilt back

  • Repeat this motion

  • 2 minute reps with 4 sets is goal. Start with 2-3 sets and work your way up to 2 minutes with good form/posture

 

Seated Pelvic Tilt

                      Seated Oblique Tilt

  • Sit on the ball in neutral positon

  • Contract your right obliques (side, abdominal muscles) and tilt the ball slightly to the right, then back to neural

  • Repeat this motion for the left side

  • 2 minute reps with 4 sets is goal. Start with 2-3 sets and work your way up to 2 minutes with good form/posture

 

Center                                     Left                                      Center                                   Right

 

Plank

Phase 1-Beginner

 

  • Begin on the floor on your hands and knees

  • Walk your hands forward and go down to your forearms

  • Your elbows are going to be directly underneath your shoulders. You may either have your hands flat on the floor in front of you, or in fist position, whatever is easiest for you

  • Your neck will be in neutral position

  • Contract your abdominal region by tilting your pelvis forward 

  • 2 minute reps with 4 sets is goal. Start with 2-3 sets and work your way up to 2 minutes with good form/posture

 

*If this hurts your low back you are doing it incorrectly. Contract your abdominals more. 

 

Plank

Phase 2- Moderate

  • Come up as you did for Beginner Plank

  • With a contracted core, come up to your toes

 

*If you are able to stay in this position for one minute, you are ready to move onto advanced plank

Plank

Phase 3- Advanced with Dyna Disc

Plank

Phase 4- Advanced with Ball

  • Place a dyna disc underneath the toes as you come up into plank as you did with Phase 2

  • Place your palms flat on the ground

  • Bring your shins onto the exercise ball

  • Once your shins are balanced, come up into plank with a contracted core

  • Your elbows will not be locked and your neck will be in neutral position

  • Hold yourself here for one minute

Plank

Phase 5- Advanced* Dynamic Plank

  • Begin Phase 5 just as you did Phase 4, with your shins balanced on the ball in plank form

  • Bring the ball towards you by bending your knees while allowing your pelvis to slightly elevate

  • This movement's power should be generated by the abdominal musculature, not the thigh

  • Throughout this movement, you will keep your abdominal wall and core contracted, keeping a neutral pelvis

 

If your low back hurts, you do not have your abdominals contracted and youre putting all the pressure on your back. Reset yourself in neutral position and make sure you contract the lower core by tilting the pelvis forward. 

 

  • Lay on your back with knees up and heels one hands length from your buttocks.

  • Shoulders should be contracted with palms facing the celling.

  • Contract your abdominal muscles (bring your belly button towards your spine) and push through your heels to lift your buttocks off the floor until  your abdominal area is flat. No pressure should be on your head/neck, the weight from your trunk is placed on your shoulder blade area.

  • You should have a straight line from your knees, hips, core to your shoulders. If you do not have a straight line, reset yourself and try again. Push through your heels more and slightly contract your gluteal muscles if your buttocks is towards the floor. Be careful not to push your pelvis too far up.

  •  If you feel pain/pressure in your low back you are either pushing to far up and do not have a straight line from knees to shoulders or you are not contracting your abdominal muscles. Our goal is NOT to form an arch in the low back but to strengthen the muscles that support our trunk. 

 

Bridge

Strengthens pelvic stabilizers to decrease low back pain

 

 

  • Sit on the ball in neutral position

  • Walk your feet forward until your upper back is on the ball itself

  • Open your palms to the ceiling so your chest opens up. Hold this posture with your abdominal contracted.

Bridge- Phase 2

Bridge- Phase 3

  • Start flat on your back

  • Place the ball underneath your calves

  • Push through your heels and calves, pushing down to the ball

  • Bring your buttocks in the air while contracting your core

Bridge-Phase 4

  • Begin as you did in Phase 3 above

  • Push through the ball and bring your buttocks back in the air.

  • Contract abs and bring your heels towards your buttocks

 

  • Phase 5 will begin just as Phase 4

  • Place one leg on the ball, life the other leg straight in the air at a 90 degree angle from the hip

  • Bend your knee and bring the ball towards your buttocks, keeping your raised leg in the air at a 90 degree angle. Go as far as you can. 

 

*Very good for hamstring strength

Bridge-Phase 5

Pilates 100

 
  • Begin in neutral position on the floor

  • Place your shoulder blades underneath you with the palms facing up

  • Tilt your pelvis and contract your core. If you cannot contract your abdomen, come up in a partial sit up and feel your abs contract Bring your head back down, keeping that same contraction

  • Very slowly, slide your legs up to a 90 degree angle

  • Turn your palms facing down and pump your arms up and down, 1,2,3,4,5. Repeat

  • If thats too easy for you, pull your shoulders off the ground, keeping your head in neutral position. DO NOT strain your neck. Then legs straight and your heels off the ground, continue with the pumping motion 

 

 

Resisted Sideways Walking

  • Begin in neutral position, holding the resistance band

  • Walk to the side while holding the band

 

Sacral Cup Exercise

 
  • Lay on your stomach with your head in neutral position. You can rest your head on the ground or the mat

  • Put your hands on your hips (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine, ASIS) and tuck in your pelvis, just as in neutral position

  • Engage your core

  • Very slowly, without moving your hips, raise one leg with a straight knee about 1/2- 1 inch off the ground

  • Now lower it

  • Move with your breath. Take a breath in and as you exhale raise your leg 1/2-1 inch, hold for a breath in and as you exhale, bring your leg back down, SLOWLY. 

 

 

Clam

  • Lay on your side, legs are at a 45 degree angle, with a pillow or towel below your head so your neck is in neutral spine. Make sure the shoulder you’re laying on is not angled up but even with your other shoulderIf that hurts, bend your elbow and put it underneath your head.

  • Your other hand will be either on your hip or the ground

  • With your hips at a 45 degree angle, bend your knees to a 90 degree angle

  • With your heels together, open your knees

Leg Slide

 

Phase I

  • Begin in neutral position, laying on the floor. If this hurts, you can roll up a towel for underneath your neck

  • Contract the abdominal area and with one leg, slide your foot towards your buttocks, bending your knee until its 90 degrees, then lower it back down. Your pelvis should not move 

*This works better if you have socks on a smooth surface

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phase II

  • Put your hand on your hips and very slowly slide your leg up. If you feel your pelvis dive, you're not contracting your core enough

  • Slide your heel up, then turn your knee out about half an inch, then push your leg back down and feel how your leg swoops around.

  • Slide your heel back up just as you did and push it back down. *Notice how this adds an extra dynamic to the pelvis

  • Now do the opposite: Turn your toe out slightly, bend your knee up about 2 inches, stop, straighten it out and push your heel back down

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