“Think of your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re hitting a tennis ball or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it.” ~Harvard Health Journal 1/24/12

Today’s post comes from Trainer Barb:

When working to strengthen core muscles, many of us immediately think abs and crunches. However, crunches can adversely affect our back and neck. Consider that back pain is the number one complaint almost all of us will experience at some point in our lives. Core muscles are actually a lot more than just abs; this network involves the back, hips, and parts of the chest AS WELL AS the abdominal muscles.

Here are some exercises that will help strengthen the core without placing additional strain on the back. Aim to do 2 sets of 10 of each of these exercises, twice a day.

Bridges (the video shows palm down, but to make it more difficult and really strengthen the core muscles, do them palm up when you feel comfortable).  check it out

Single leg stand:

check it out

The bird dog:

check it out

NOTE: If you have been diagnosed with back problems, or have back pain, please check with your physician or chiropractor prior to using these exercises.