Improving your core strength develops muscle in the trunk of your body, including the lower back and sides. The core is made up of the abs; the obliques, or sides of the waist; and the erector spinae muscles, or lower back. Core training benefits include better posture, a tighter waistline and improved stability and balance.
Stability Ball Leg Extensions
Stability ball leg extensions stimulate the lower back while engaging the core muscles for stabilization. Begin on all fours with the stability ball underneath your hips. Lean forward slightly so your feet are about an inch off the floor. Extend your legs straight. Slowly lift your legs until they are parallel to the floor. Lower your legs down to the starting position. Don’t allow your knees to bend during the movement. Repeat the exercise for three sets of 20 repetitions.
Lying supermans work the lower back muscles. Lie face down with your arms and legs extended straight. Slowly lift your right arm while raising your left leg. Return to the starting position. Raise your left arm while lifting your right leg. Slowly return to the starting position. Continue alternating sides for three sets of 20 repetitions on each side.
Side planks engage the core muscles while targeting the obliques. Lie on your right side with your elbow supporting your upper body. Extend your legs straight with your feet together. Lift your hip off the floor and keep your spine in a straight line. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Lower your hip to the ground, returning to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 30 seconds.
Stability Ball Russian Twists
Stability ball Russian twists focus on the oblique muscles while stimulating the abs and lower back. Sit on the stability ball while holding a medicine ball with both hands. Walk your feet forward until your head, neck and shoulder blades are supported by the stability ball. Lift your hips up into a bridge position. Extend your arms straight holding the medicine ball directly over your chest. Twist from the trunk turning your body to the right until your arms are parallel to the floor. Twist to the center, returning to the starting position. Repeat the motion on the left side and return to the starting position. Perform the exercise for three sets of 20 repetitions on each side.
- Harvard Health Publications: Build Your Core Muscles for a Healthier, More Active Future
- "Weight Training Manual"; National Federation of Professional Trainers; 2006
- American Council on Exercise: Stability Ball Reverse Extensions
- American Council on Exercise: Supermans
- Gray Institute: (Core - Strength) Basic Side Plank
- American Council on Exercise: Stability Ball Russian Twist