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Standing Core Exercises
Looking for a new way to strengthen your core?
Get on your feet and try some new core strengthening exercises while standing. Let's face it, we all have tried crunches or sit ups to strengthen our abdomen but we all know this gets old fast because it's boring and it doesn't give great results. The FACT is that it is bad for your spine because it creates a lot of compressive force which could lead to fractures over time.
First, it's a good idea to make sure you are able to keep the abdominal muscles contracted through easier exercises before moving to the standing position. Exercises on the hands and knees or plank positions are a great way to progress and will be shown below.
Simple exercises can make the core stronger which helps with reaching, lifting, bending, and leaning that we do all day without even thinking about it.
- Try squats with a ball behind you for support. Lift light weights with straight arms in front up to shoulder level as you squat. Even holding an exercise ball or medicine ball as you squat, while keeping your stomach in tight, is a great way to strengthen several muscle groups, as well as your core.
- Then try the squat lifting the ball in a diagonal pattern. This involves combined motions, which also imitates how the body moves throughout our day.
- A leaning lunge position is another way to understand how to keep the core tight while performing a movement we do very often throughout the day. Have the feet staggered in a lunge position. With the abdominal muscles tight, lean forward slightly and return back to the starting position. Hold your arms out in front of you for more of a challenge, which also imitates a leaning or reaching motion. Also try a very small rotation motion in the same position, focusing on keeping the stomach in tight and the hip facing forward.
We don’t realize how much the core supports our entire body and how easy it is to let these muscles go with just reaching and lifting activities in day to day life. Unfortunately, this can be the cause of low back pain for many people so functional training is important. There are so many different exercises out there and these are just basic ones to start with. All of these exercises can be more challenging by standing on an uneven surface or on a BOSU. So, stop those crunches and try some exercise that will work the core, arms and legs all in one exercise!
Contributed by Krista Magnoli, PTA @ The Physical Therapy Center www.wpbphysicaltherapycenter