Expert Core Stability Exercises
Congratulations! You have progressed through all the exercises and are becoming a master at core stability. It is now time for you to try the final set of exercises, and push yourself even harder to achieve a core of steel!
Let’s begin on your back…
Exercise 1) Make a bridge, as described in the advanced exercises. When you are comfortable, and your hips are level, transfer the weight across your shoulders and into your left foot, and lift your right foot off the floor by about an inch. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax. Now try lifting your left foot. Remember to keep your hips ‘level’ in all rotations, and to keep breathing deeply and in a controlled manner. Keep your core muscles engaged, but try not to tense your six pack.
Exercise 2) Make a bridge. When you are comfortable, lift your right foot and continue to raise your foot until your leg is straight (so there is no knee bend). Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax, and try it on your other leg. Keep your hips flat and neutral, and continue to keep breathing deeply and calmly.
Exercise 3) Lie on your back with your knees up and feet on the floor. Make an arch between the floor and your lumbar spine, and raise your feet off the floor so that your calf muscles are parallel to the floor and there is a 90 degree angle between your hamstrings and calves. From this position, try crunching your knees into your chest by flattening the arch in your back – but making sure that you don’t simply pull your knees towards, rather you engage your core muscles and flatten your back out through the contraction of your deep muscles. This is an extremely hard exercise to do properly, and you will find it easier if you use your fingertips to tell you if you’re using your correct muscles (as we practised in earlier exercises). When have you got really good at executing this ‘abdominal-hollowing crunch’, you should be able to contract your core muscles to such an extent that you can crunch your knees into your shoulders! Keep practising until you can…
Now let’s move onto your front, in the horse stance position. When you are comfortable, lift your right arm and your left foot – trying to extend both as fully as you can, without losing your neutral position in your hips or shoulders. Hold this position for 5 seconds to begin with (eventually you can try for longer), but make sure that in this period you are maintaining a neutral pelvic and shoulder position. Try with the other arm and leg. You are likely to rotate your pelvis and shoulders in the direction of the raised arm/leg, so try and avoid this. The stronger you get, the easier this will be.
If you have completed all of the above exercises, you are ready to try the final body bridge position – the ’Superman’. Make the simple front bridge, and then lift one arm, and the opposite leg – extend them as fully as possible, and hold this position for 10 seconds. Make sure, as with the horse stance, that your hips and shoulders are neutral and not rotated. This is a very difficult exercise, and if you can accomplish this, you are an expert at core stability!
Learn more / further reading