4 Great exercises that support your core and abs

May 18, 2014

   Our abdominals are a set of muscles that make up our core. They include many interconnected muscles that run up the back and stretch down to the butt; and the front and inner thighs.

   Abdominals are key in supporting the spine and contributing to good posture.  When properly exercised, these muscles help to improve posture and balance.

   Core stability is essential for movement and to maintain an upright posture. These muscles also play an important role in lifting things that require extra effort, such as a heavy weight from the ground to a table. Without core stability the lower back is not supported from the inside and can be injured due to strain. It is also believed that insufficient core stability can result in lower back pain, and lethargy.

   So, I'd like to share a few of my favorite core/abdominal exercises with you.


   Lie on your back with your knees bent toward your chest. Hold a three pound dumbbell with both hands. Extend your left leg to 45 degrees, keeping your right knee bent. Lift your head and shoulders and move the dumbbell to the outside of your right knee, pressing into a crunch with a twist (shown above). Pull your left leg in to meet your right leg and reach the weight up toward the ceiling, keeping your shoulders and head elevated off the floor. Now repeat step 2, but this time extend your right leg and keep your left knee bent. That’s one rep.

   Do 10 reps 4 times a week.

   Lie on your back on a stability ball with your feet hip-distance apart on the floor and knees bent 90 degrees. Place your right hand behind your head and your left fingertips on the floor for balance. Brace your core and lift your left foot off the floor. Extend your left leg, keeping the foot flexed.

   Crunch up, twisting your right shoulder and rib cage toward your left knee while simultaneously stretching your right leg straight. Keep your foot on the floor. Return to starting position with you left leg lifted and right leg bent. That's one rep. 

   Do 15 reps on each side. Repeat 4 times a week.

   Lie on your back with knees bent 90 degree. Straighten your arms by your sides and lengthen your fingertips. Press the back of your shoulders against a mat and slide them down away from your ears. Focus on keeping your back on the floor. Inhale and slowly move your knees to the right. Then exhale and return to starting position. Repeat on the left. That’s one rep.

Do 5 to 8 reps. Repeat 4 times a week.

   On your back raise your right arm and left leg to the ceiling, keeping both straight. Keep your palm facing the center of your body with your foot pointed to the ceiling. Keep your lower back to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds then repeat with your other arm and leg. Increase gradually to 20 seconds, holding on each side.

   Repeat on the each side 3 times. Repeat 4 times a week.

   You should notice improvement in as little as three weeks.