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Exercises to Build a Stronger Core

Back Exercises

Reverse Flyes
Reverse flyes are one of the only exercises that work the rear muscles of your shoulders (posterior deltoid).

Work with a weight that is comfortable for you. Perform 3 sets starting with a light weight for 12 repetitions (reps). Your next set will be a heavier weight performed for 10 reps, your last set will be a fairly heavy weight using 6 — 8 reps.

  • Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent
  • Bend over and hold a dumbbell in each hand arms hanging down
  • Palms should be facing each other and your elbows should be slightly bent
  • Slowly raise the dumbbells by lifting your arms apart in an arcing motion (like a set of wings). Keep your elbows bent
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • At the top of the movement, the dumbbells should be level with your head
  • Slowly lower and return to the starting position
  • Repeat

One Arm Dumbbell Rows
This exercise works your Latissimus Dorsi (lats — the outer sides of your back); the muscles that give a “V” shape to your back.

Work with a weight that is comfortable for you. Perform 3 sets starting with a light weight for 12 repetitions (reps). Your next set will be a heavier weight performed for 10 reps, your last set will be a fairly heavy weight using 6 — 8 reps.

  • Start with your right side
  • Place a dumbbell on the floor to the right side of the bench
  • Put right leg back, knee slightly bent
  • Place you left knee on the exercise bench
  • Bend over and hold dumbbell with right hand, palm in
  • Put left hand on bench for stability
  • Lift the dumbbell straight up to side of chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Inhale through this motion
  • Return to starting position exhaling as you lower the weight
  • Switch sides and repeat

Back Extension
Back extensions are a great exercise to work the muscles along the side of your spine (erector spinae), the upper rear of your legs, and your gluteus maximus. A roman chair is required for this exercise.

Beginner: Perform 3 sets of 10, Intermediate: 3 sets of 15

  • Position yourself facedown on a roman chair, hooking your ankles under the ankle pads
  • Your hips should be above the top edge of the body pad
  • Cross your arms over your chest or lock your fingers behind your head
  • Bend at your hips downward to a 60 degree angle
  • Flex your lower back muscles, inhale and hold your breath while lifting your body so your shoulders are slightly higher than your ankles
  • Hold this position for a count of 5
  • Exhale as you return to the down position
  • Repeat

Abdominal Exercises

Crunches
Crunches are one of the easiest and best abdominal exercises.

Beginner: Perform 3 sets of 15, Intermediate: 4 sets of 25

  • Lie face up on the floor with your hands to the sides of your head
  • Your knees should be bent and your feet on the floor
  • Contract your abs while bringing your chest and head towards the ceiling keeping your lower back flat on the floor
  • Hold for a count of 3 at the top of the movement and squeeze your abs
  • Slowly lower and repeat

Physio Ball Crunch
This intermediate level exercise lets you work your abdominals over a greater range of motion. A large Physio exercise ball is needed for this exercise.

Beginner: Perform 3 sets of 10, Intermediate: 3 sets of 20

  • Position yourself with your lower back resting on the exercise ball
  • Your feet should be spread in front of you, and firmly planted on the floor for stability
  • Lock your hands behind your head and keep your chin off your chest
  • Make sure you’re stable before beginning
  • Slowly lift your shoulders off the ball and curl your body upward as high as you can without lifting your back off the ball. Your back will compress the ball
  • Squeeze your abs and hold for a count of 3
  • Slowly sink back down and repeat

V-Ups

The V-Up is one of the best all around ab exercises, and works the full abdominal group.
This can be a difficult exercise and should be used only if you are at an intermediate or higher level.

Beginner: Perform 3 sets of 10, Intermediate: 3 sets of 15

  • Lie face up on the floor with your arms to your side
  • Your legs should be straight out in front of you
  • Keep your head, shoulders and feet off the floor
  • Start out by quickly contracting your abs
  • Take a deep breath and hold it as you bring your body and your legs together, keeping your butt on the floor and using it as your hinge point
  • Reach your arms towards your shins at the top
  • Hold for a count of 3
  • Exhale as you slowly lower your legs and body to the starting position
  • Repeat

Beginners should consult with their physician prior to starting any exercise program. If you’ve never lifted weights, you may want to consult with a personal trainer for one on one instruction and to develop a personalized exercise program.

 


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