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5 Easy Exercises to Improve Core Strength in Women

Working on your abdominal muscles helps improve your posture. (Image via Pexels / Vlada Karpovich)
Working on your abdominal muscles helps improve your posture. (Image via Pexels / Vlada Karpovich)

Core strengthening exercises are important for the health of your back, as they increase the strength of your torso. As you age, losing muscle mass is natural, and you may experience low back pain as a result.

To prevent that from happening, you can try some easy exercises that help you in strengthening your core muscles not just for posture but also to relieve back pain and improve stamina.

Before we dive deep into the exercise routine, lets take a look at the anatomy.


Anatomy of Core Muscles

Your core or trunk is made up of different muscles. These include your erector spinae, rectus abdominis and obliques. Your internal oblique and external oblique help you rotate or bend your trunk. Your transverse abdominis helps stabilise your pelvis, while your multifidus supports your spine.

Your abdominal muscles—including your pelvic floor, diaphragm, glutes and muscles that attach to the pelvis— work together to stabilise your body, support your spine and help you perform daily tasks with ease.


How to Improve Your Core Strength with Easy Exercises

Here's a look at five easy exercises:

1) Bridge

This pose helps you activate your glutes, lifting your hips and strengthening your abdominal muscles. It also tones your butt and thighs.

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To do this exercise:

  • Start on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor and hands at your sides, palms down.
  • Tighten your core and glutes.
  • Raise your hips till your knees are in line with your shoulders. Hold for 10–30 seconds, and lower your back down.
  • Repeat 3–5 times.

2) Crunch

Crunches can strengthen the abdominal muscles, but it's important to move slowly, and do just a few reps if you have occasional lower back pain. If chronic low back pain is an issue, talk with a certified trainer or healthcare professional before attempting this classic exercise.

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To do a crunch:

  • Lie on your back, and extend your legs. Line up your head and spine.
  • Cross your arms across your chest, making a 'T' shape with your body.
  • Contract your core muscles, and relax your neck and shoulders.
  • Tuck in your chin, lifting your upper back off the floor. Pause, and lower yourself to your start position.

3) Supine Toe Tap

Toe taps are a basic Pilates exercise. They engage your upper body muscles while working your glutes, hips and legs. If you have back pain, toe taps may be an ideal alternative to crunches.

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Here's how you do a supine toe tap:

  • To begin, lie on the floor with your back flat.
  • Lift your legs, keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees and your hands at your sides.
  • Tighten your core, and lower your right foot to tap the floor lightly.
  • Return to the starting position, and raise your left leg.
  • Repeat this step once more with each leg for one set of eight to 12 reps.

4) Bird Dog

The bird dog is a great exercise for your abdominal muscles, so it’s a good move to do if you want to strengthen your core. It also challenges your coordination, strength and balance.

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To do a bird dog pose:

  • Start with your hands and knees in a tabletop position, shoulders above your wrists and hips above your knees.
  • Tense your core, and lift one arm and the opposite leg to hip height. At the same time, slowly extend that arm straight overhead and that leg straight back.
  • Maintain a neutral spine as you extend your arm and leg; don't allow your back to arch as you extend.
  • Hold for five seconds, and return to the starting position, switching legs and arms so that the left arm is extended overhead while the right leg is lifted behind you.
  • Repeat ten times on each side.

5) Bicycle Crunch

This move works your obliques, rectus abdominous and hips. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your right leg slightly lifted off the floor. Place your hands behind your neck or at the lower part of your head. Make sure not to pull on your neck while you do this move.

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To do a bicycle crunch:

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent, arms at your sides.
  • Lift your left shoulder, and move it toward your right knee; as you bring it back down, extend your right leg, and bend your left knee toward your chest.
  • As your right knee moves farther in, lift your right shoulder, and move it toward your left knee; as you bring it back down, extend your left leg, and bend your right knee toward your chest.

Takeaway

If core strength isn’t in your regular routine, you should start adding exercises to your daily workout. When it’s part of your routine, you can avoid back pain and back injuries. By making core strength a priority over the long term, you can take care of yourself and boost your ability to engage in other physical activities.

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Edited by Bhargav
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