Strengthen your core with these two exercises

Looking for a little more balance and stability in your life? One way to achieve both is to work your core muscles. They’re the ones in your lower back, abdomen, hips, and pelvis.

Strong core muscles will help you in myriad ways — whether it’s accomplishing daily activities or participating in a marathon. As people age, strong core muscles can help prevent falls and other injuries.

Andy Wight, who has been my personal trainer for more than a year now (high five to both of us for sticking with it!) demonstrates two core exercises. One’s a little easier than the other.

Andy demonstrates plank

A plank is a core activation exercise.  Line your elbows under your shoulders and prop yourself up on your toes. Once in this position, think about exhaling and squeezing your abs

Important note,  you want to maintain the abdominal squeeze and breathe at the same time. At no time should you feel anything in your back.

Andy demonstrating hollow body exercise

The hollow body hold is a much more challenging core exercise. You lie on your back and use gravity to increase the level of difficulty. Hollow bodies are a next level exercise so be sure to master a plank before moving on.

While lying on your back, elevate your shoulders and lift your feet off the ground. Once in this position, the goal is to hold it for a time. I recommend that people think of trying to squeeze their abs and visualize bringing their ribs to their pelvis.

I love doing the plank. It’s a mental as well as a physical thing. I feel stronger in the moment as I’m doing one and I know they are helping me to feel more stable and “rooted.”

Just remember what Andy said. Master the plank before trying the hollow body.

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.