Beginners Core Stability Exercises

Core Stability Exercises

The Basics

The initial exercise to master is the ability to contract the MF and TA through ‘abdominal hollowing’: You lie on your back with your knees bent, and find your ‘neutral lumbar spine’ - rotate your pelvis into the floor (flattening your back), and then rotate your pelvis the other way (giving a large arch in your lower back). Halfway in-between these two extremes is your ‘neutral’ position.

Once you are in this neutral position, begin the core stability session by relaxing your abdominal muscles and breathing in deeply. On exhaling, draw in your belly button towards the floor, at about 20% of maximum effort. Hold this position for 10 seconds, trying to be relaxed (although still with tension pulling in your belly button), and remember to keep breathing! Repeat this exercise 5-10 times, with 10 second recovery. It is best practise to find your neutral position before each ‘rep’, until you are aware what your neutral position feels like – this may take some time to find out, but persevere and it will come!

A Few Tips

Do not:

Allow your stomach to tense, or bulge outwards – this involves tensing of the RA (your 6-pack) rather than the TA/MF.

Tense too hard – a gentle contraction (about 20% of maximum effort) is enough. Remember, this exercise is used to develop endurance, not max strength.

Tilt your pelvis or flatten your back - try and keep a neutral position at all times.

Hold your breath. Relax!


Use your fingers to feel your tension. Put your fingertips on the crest of your pelvis, and then move down, and in one inch – feel the slight bulge of your muscles when you tense your TA and MF.

Contrast the pressure on your fingertips throughout the contraction and hold.

The Basics continued…

Once you have mastered this technique on your back, try engaging your deep muscles lying on your front, in a 4-point kneeling position (‘horse stance’), sitting, and standing. Remember to always find your neutral spine by rotating your pelvis to it’s maximum range of motion, and then keeping it in the middle position.

When you are able to engage your core muscles in all of these positions, congratulations! It is time for you to move on to some intermediate exercises!

Learn more / further reading

  1. Beginner Core Exercises
  2. Intermediate Core Exercises
  3. Advanced Core Exercises
  4. Expert Core Exercises






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