We want these muscles to not only look good, but also work well and  prevent back pain. If we want our core to do everything, we have to train these muscles according to their function with whatever movement they can do. The basic workout presented here offers an increasingly challenging experience as it only uses flexion / extension or rotation for the first three exercises and then combines flexion / extension with rotation for the next exercises. The exercises offer a balanced approach by focusing on  stability and mobility challenges.

The same goes for the much-maligned “crunch” in which  the spine flexes, another common movement in everyday life (like getting  out of bed). While abs have potentially been used and can still be overused, it is the overuse rather than the type of  movement itself that can cause problems. A crunch brings the shoulders to the hips and a reverse crunch brings the hips to the shoulders; both movements are included in this training.

Plank: Lying on your stomach, raise yourself into a forearm plank position. Make sure your elbows are under your shoulders and your hands are clenched into fists. Hold for 10-20 seconds per set.

Dead Bug: Lie face up on the floor with your arms extended over your shoulders. To start, place your knees directly over your hips and bend  the knee so that your calf forms a 90-degree angle with your thigh. Then simultaneously lower your left arm over your head as you straighten your right leg and send it toward the floor. Pause, return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side. Alternately do 14 reps to complete one set.

Extending to Cannonball: Crawl into a cannonball shape on your back, knees against your chest, yes, like you’re back at the  summer camp pool. At the same time, extend your legs and arms out into a “hollow” position, resting your lower back on the floor. Hold for five seconds before curling up  and doing five reps for a set.

Dumbbell bend: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in toward your torso. Keeping your back straight, engage your core,  then lean to the side as far as you can, but only at the waist. Hold for a second at the bottom of your range of motion and return to the start for one rep. Do between 12 and 20 reps for a set.

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