Best core exercises and why you need to do them

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The core muscles work together to align the pelvis and keep the spine stable. Core training programs are popular for better ab tone, but there are lots of other benefits to doing core workouts (see below). Because their role is to support and stabilise the spine, the best core exercises to do are ones which challenge stability. This post gives you 5 of this type of exercise to strengthen up your core.

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What is core training?

There’s no set definition of core training. It’s often used to mean training the deeper layers of ab muscles. But some people would include all the ab muscles, some of the back muscles and even some of the leg muscles. The exercises in this post focus mainly on the deep abdominal muscles, but will also challenge other muscles involved in stabilising the spine and pelvis. The advantages of core training are:

  • Better abdominal tone – strong core muscles lead to flat abs.
  • Strong muscles supporting the spine, which helps to reduce back pain and injury.
  • Improvement to bad posture habits, such as low back arching and hunched shoulders.
  • When the pelvis is properly aligned, balance and coordination improve.
  • Increased flexibility in the spine and muscles attaching to the pelvis, which makes movement smoother and easier and reduces the risk of injury.

Workout instructions

Finding neutral

Because these exercises focus on holding the pelvis stable, you need to be clear on what correct pelvic alignment is. The pelvis needs to be able to tilt forwards and backwards as we move. However, over time inactivity and bad posture can lead to the pelvis being at rest in a forward or backward position. The forward position is quite common in women, especially after pregnancy. In these exercises, the pelvis should be held in the neutral (no tilt) position. In order to understand what neutral pelvis is, do this exercise:

How to find neutral pelvis

5 of the best core exercises

As mentioned above, the best core exercises are ones which challenge stability. Remember that in these exercises, you should be using your core muscles to keep your pelvis in a stable position, rather than letting it tilt forwards or backwards as you move.

Before you start this workout please read these general exercise guidelines.

The workout

Try to do this workout 3 times a week. There are full instructions for each exercise below, including the number of repetitions.

Exercise instructions

Beginner core exercises 1

Beginner core exercises 2

Beginner core exercises 3

Beginner core exercises 4

Beginner core exercises 5

Chart of exercise reps

Best core exercises chart

Full 6 week core training program instant download

Printable PDF set for a complete core program, including exercise instructions, weekly schedule, tracker sheets and posture tips.

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