A common misconception is that exercising your core simply means working your abdominal muscles. Core exercises also strengthen your hips, back and all muscles in the midsection of the body. The core is your center of gravity and where all body movements begin. A strong core is important for posture and will also help you properly perform all functional activities in your daily life. Having a strong core has also been shown to help alleviate lower back pain.
If you are new to core exercise, you should start with Core Stabilization exercises. Example Core Stabilization exercises include: Marching, Floor Bridge, Floor Prone Cobra and Prone Iso-Ab (Plank Pose). You can work up to performing 12-20 repetitions of each exercise (1-4 sets). You should perform Stabilization exercises for at least four weeks before moving on to more advanced core exercises.
Examples of more advanced core exercises include: Ball Crunch, Back Extensions, Cable Rotations and Reverse Crunches. You can perform 8-12 repetitions of each exercise (2-4 sets). Finally, as you get stronger you can then progress to more explosive core movements (also known as Power Core Exercises). You will use a medicine ball to perform these exercises. Examples include the Rotation Chest Pass, Woodchop Throw and Front Medicine Ball Oblique Throw. Perform 8-12 repetitions (2-3 sets).
More Answers from Barb MacGillivary, NASM Elite Trainer