Core stability is comprised of the “lumbopelvic-hip” (low back + pelvis + hips) complex. It is designed to maintain the stability of our spinal joints by reducing the load placed on those joints from normal day-to-day movements, workplace demands, and/or athletic training. Maintaining adequate core stability may help ease and even prevent episodes of low back pain.
In this blog post, Dr. Cameron Read and Dr. Mallory Kohlmeier, Chiropractors at Frontenac Chiropractic and Sports Rehab in Kingston, Ontario, reveal their top 5 exercises for beginners looking to build core strength/stability.
1: Dead Bug – Wall Press
The Dead Bug is a great exercise that emphasizes core control/trunk stability, while also encouraging mobility at joints in the upper and lower extremities. Bracing the wall with your hands allows for easier core engagement for the beginner.
▪️Start laying on your back with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees
▪️Gently push into the wall with your hands to feel the core engage
▪️Keeping the core engaged and the low back pressed into the floor, slowly lower one leg at a time and return to starting position
Perform this exercise for 8-10 reps/limb X 2-3 sets
2: Bird Dog
The Bird Dog is one of Stu McGill’s Big 3 exercises for core stability, another great exercise to emphasize core control while movement occurs at surrounding joints.
▪️Start in an all 4’s position with your back in a neutral position (mild arch & not completely flat)
▪️Without allowing movement in the low back, slowly extend one leg and opposite arm until limbs are fully extended
▪️Think about getting long by “reaching” through your hand and foot
Try holding for 5-8 seconds and repeat 8-10 reps/limb X 2-3 sets
3: Modified Side Plank
The Modified Side Plank is a regression on one of Stu McGill’s Big 3 exercises, emphasizing both lateral core and hip stability.
▪️Start laying on your side with your knees bent and your upper body supported through your elbow (place free hand on hip or opposite shoulder)
▪️Raise your hips from the surface while pushing only through the elbow and knee
Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and perform 10 reps/side X 2-3 sets
4: Modified Curl Up
The Modified Curl Up is the last of Stu McGill’s Big 3 exercises, emphasizing anterior core stability in particular.
▪️Lie on your back with one knee bent and one flat on the floor
▪️Place your hands under your low back to maintain a neutral spine
▪️Lift your head off the floor by 6-12 inches which engages the core while not rounding the low back
You can perform for this exercise for reps (10-15 reps of 2-3 second holds) or for endurance (longer holds of 10 seconds).
5: Prone Ball Rollout
The Rollout is a great anti-extension exercise, meaning we want to avoid an excessive arching or extension of the low back by maintaining our spinal position throughout the movement!
▪️You’ll need an exercise ball and start by kneeling and place your forearms on the ball
▪️Bracing (or tighten) your glutes and core and slowly roll the ball away from your body while maintaining a neutral spine position (DO NOT let the hips or low back sink towards the floor)
▪️Roll out as far as you’re able to maintain neutral spine position and then roll/pull the ball back in
Perform this exercise for 10-15 reps X 2-3 sets.
You can find more exercises like these by visiting our YouTube channel!!