Too often when you read about core strengthening exercises, the editorial and photos all focus on attaining six-pack abs. Improving abdominal muscle strength may prevent back pain by making one less prone to back injuries.
Strong core muscles help you maintain balance, avoid clumsy movements and prevent unwelcome strains and sprains.
Achieving a stronger abdominal core can be achieved by taking yoga or Pilates classes or by simple exercises you can do at home. The basic elbow plank, as seen below, can be a transformative exercise to build abdominal muscle strength. When starting out, achieving optimal form is the goal – not plank hold time. An adjacent mirror can help ensure your posture is as pictured below. As you get more proficient, you can maintain the elbow plank for longer periods, going up to a minute or more.
- Assume a push-up position but bend your arms at your elbows so your weight rests on your forearms.
- Tighten your abs, clench your glutes and keep your body straight from head to heels.
- Hold as long as you can while maintaining correct form; i.e., no slumping.
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