Improving your core strength will help you develop muscle in your trunk, which includes your sides and lower back. Your core is primarily made up of your abs, the obliques and the erector spinae muscles or lower back.
Training your core can lead to numerous benefits, including better posture, improved balance and stability and of course, a tighter waistline and rock solid abs.
Next time you are looking for exercises to target your core why not give one of these (or even a couple) a try and see how they work for you.
Stability Ball Leg Extensions
Performing leg extensions helps you work your lower belly, but doing it on a stability ball just makes it way more awesome. Stability ball leg extensions stimulate the muscles in your lower back, while engaging the core muscles. This improves core strength and increases core stability too.
- With the stability ball underneath your hips, begin on all fours.
- Slightly lean forward to ensure that your feet are an inch off the floor and extend your legs.
- Slowly lift your legs with your toes pointed until they are parallel to the floor. Lower your legs and return to starting position.
- Make sure you don’t bend your knees during the entire rep.
- Perform 2 sets of 10 reps.
Lying supermans are excellent for the lower back muscles. To perform a lying superman:
- Lie face down with arms and legs extended
- Slowly lift your right arm along with your left leg.
- Return to starting position and repeat by raising your left arm and right leg.
- Bring your arm and leg down to starting position very slowly and keep alternating sides.
- Perform 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.
When it comes to working your obliques, side planks can be a real treat.
- With your elbow supporting your body, lie on your right side and extend your legs. You can keep your upper foot on top of the other or in front of it if you’re having trouble maintaining a steady position.
- Raise your left arm toward the ceiling and gently lift your hip off the floor with your spine straight. Maintain this position for a count of 30 and lower your hip to starting position.
- Perform 10 reps each side holding for 30 seconds.
Stability Ball Russian Twists
The stability ball is the star for today and all for the good reasons. Stability ball Russian twists work the oblique muscles in the body while engaging your abs and lower back.
- Grab a medicine ball with both hands and sit on the stability ball. Walk Your feet forward until your head, shoulder blades and neck are supported by the stability ball.
- Form a bridge position by lifting your hips up and extend your arms up holding the medicine ball right over your chest.
- Then bring your arms parallel to the floor by twisting your trunk to the right. Slowly twist to the center and return to starting position.
- Repeat with your other side and return to initial position.
- Perform 3 sets of 12 reps per side.
The bridge is an excellent workout for the glutes (hello, bubble butt!), but what most folks don’t realize is that is beneficial for the back as well. The bridge counteracts the effects of excessive chair time, which applies too much pressure on your spine. The move stretches the hip flexors, strengthens the muscles that are responsible for stabilizing the spine which include the lower back, glutes and the abdominal muscles and it relaxes the back from the daily tension from sedentary work too.
If you want to make it harder, simply lift one foot of the floor, toes pointed and legs straight and hold it toward the ceiling with your hips even. Hold this pose for a few seconds and perform 5-8 reps.
This exercise improves muscle coordination and balance, thus making it easier to keep your spine stable while performing everyday moves such as running, walking, lifting and carrying. In addition, it works your hamstrings, lower spine, upper back and your glutes.
- Start on all fours with your knees hip-width apart right under your hips.
- With your hands shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor, squeeze your abs by sucking your belly button in toward the spine. Avoid arching your back and rotating your hips. Your spine should be neutral throughout the entire move.
- Extend your arm straight ahead and your right leg back.
- Hold in this position for a count of three or as long as possible.
- Perform 5 to 8 reps per side.