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5 Core Exercises that are Better than Crunches

Core strength is super important and should be something that everyone works on! A strong core can help prevent pain and injuries (in the back, hips, knees, shoulders, etc), it can also help improve posture, and it can help improve athletic and recreational performance. Most people think that the core is just the abdominal muscles and that the goal is to have a 6-pack. The core is actually much more than the abdominal muscles. It includes the glutes, hip rotator muscles, the obliques, several different abdominal muscles, the pelvic floor muscles, muscles in the back, and more. It's also important to note that having a 6-pack does not mean you have a strong core and you can have a strong core without having a 6-pack.

Crunches or sit-ups strengthen some of the abdominal muscles, but they do not strengthen all of the core muscles that I mentioned above. While these are ok to do, there are a lot of other exercises that are much better! If you're trying to strengthen your core, here are 5 exercises you can add to your routine. I would do these 4-6 times per week.

  1. Quadruped Hover. Start on your hands and knees with your back flat. Lift your knees slightly off of the floor and hold that position for 5-10 seconds. Return your knees to the floor. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10 reps.

2. High Plank. Place both hands on the floor and lift your body up onto your toes. Keep your body in line and hold this position. Hold for 20-45 seconds (stop holding when you feel like you're losing alignment). Repeat 2-3 times.

3. High Plank with Hip Extension. Start in a high plank position. Keeping your body in line, lift one foot up off of the ground. Return that foot to the ground and then lift the other foot. Do 6-8 reps on each leg. Repeat for 2-3 sets.

4. Side Plank with Hip Abduction. Start in a modified side plank position, with your bottom forearm on the ground and your bottom knee bent and on the ground. Keep the top leg straight and in line with your body. Lift the top leg up and then lower. Repeat 8-10 times. Do 2-3 sets.

5. Side Plank with Rotation. Start in a side plank position and place the top arm straight up in the air. Rotate the arm down underneath your body as far as you can and then rotate the arm back up towards the ceiling. Repeat for 20-30 seconds. Do 2-3 sets on each side.

Staying consistent with these exercises (and adding more when you're ready) will help you build core strength! It can take 8-12 weeks to build strength, so don't get discouraged if you don't notice anything immediately.

Feel Free to E-mail me with any questions and I hope you're having a great week!!

Dr. Stephanie

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