Core Training: not just for abs

You may have heard that core conditioning (also called core training) is good for you, but what you may be confused about is what that means – or even where your “core” is.  Your core muscles include not only your abdominals, but also those of the hips, pelvis, and low back.  Some experts go so far as to include all the muscles between the sternum (or even shoulder) and knees as being part of your core.

Getting Started

There are many ways to work your core, whether you’re a trained athlete or recreational exerciser.  It helps to start with a physical therapist or exercise specialist who can determine which muscles may be weak and what core program would benefit you most. 
Traditional calisthenics that work the core include various abdominal crunches, hanging knee raises, hip lifts, push-ups, and squats.   You can also use a medicine ball to train your core, or use free weights in a standing position.  Pilates, yoga, dance and various gym classes are other ways to get a core workout.
Here are some easy exercises to try.

Cat/Camel exercise

On your hands and knees,
Let your stomach muscles relax and spine sag down.
Suck stomach muscles up and in and arch your spine up toward the ceiling like a “mad cat”.
Lower back down and repeat.
Move within your pain free range of motion.
Hold for 4-10 seconds
Do 2-3 sets of 10-20 Reps
Rest 30-60 seconds between each set.

Cross Crawl

On hands and knees, maintain abdominal hollow and keep back flat.
Slowly extend one leg behind while at the same time extending opposite arm out in front until parallel with floor.
Keep truck square and stable.
Return arm and leg to floor and alternate.
Hold 4-10 seconds
Do 2-3 sets of 10-20 Reps
Rest 30-60 seconds between each set.



Place your hands under your lower back in order to support your arch. 
Straighten one leg as seen in the picture. 
Contract the stomach muscles in order to curl your body upwards.
Hold the contraction for 5 seconds.
Do 3 sets or 8-12 Reps
Rest 10-30 seconds between each set.