4 Simple Ways to Feel Better by Strengthening Your Core

Strengthening

4 Simple Ways to Feel Better by Strengthening Your Core

Have you been suffering from persistent pain? Are you trying to get your body vacation-ready? Do you want to shake the sluggish feeling that’s been dragging you down? Whatever the case may be, core exercises can help. These simple and classic techniques have been practiced by athletes for years and are a great way to quickly increase your body’s core strength.

If you are recovering from an injury or beginning these core strengthening exercises for the first time, it would be in your best interest to consult with a physiotherapist beforehand. Engaging in strenuous exercise can do wonders for your body, but it can also do harm if your body is not ready for it. A physiotherapist can also advise you on correct techniques, providing you with the appropriate adjustments for safely performing these exercises.

Once you’ve received the go-ahead from your PT, you can begin performing the exercises listed below. For the best results, begin by completing these exercises 5 times each. As your core strength increases, your repetitions will be able to increase, as well. Consult with your physiotherapist before you increase your repetitions to the 15-25 range.

1. Plank

The plank is one of the most efficient core strengthening exercises used by athletes everywhere. It is a great way to warm up by engaging your core muscles: the internal and external obliques, the hip flexors, the rectus abdominis, the transversus abdominis, the erector spinae, and multifidus.

  1. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows directly below your shoulders. Make sure your forearms are parallel to one another, at about a shoulder-width distance apart.
  2. Lift yourself into a horizontal position by balancing yourself on your forearms and toes, making sure to squeeze your glutes to allow extra support for your body.
  3. Utilize your leg strength in order to keep yourself upright. The position should look similar to a pushup, except you’ll be balancing yourself on your forearms instead of your hands.
  4. Maintain your neck and spine neutrality by looking at a spot approximately one foot beyond your hands.
  5. Stay in this position for as long as possible, without compromising your form. Aim for 15-60 seconds per rep, depending on your level of physical ability. Make sure to take slow breaths the entire time.

2. Abdominal Crunch

This exercise can feel intense if you’ve been on a workout hiatus. However, it is an exceptionally successful exercise for increasing core strength and endurance.

  1. Lie down on your back with your feet placed flat on a wall. Make sure your hips and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles and glutes by squeezing them. Place your arms across your chest, rather than behind your head, in order to avoid neck strain.
  3. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Hold for three deep breaths.
  4. Resume your starting position and repeat.

3. Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your rectus abdominis and obliques. Much like the abdominal crunch, this one may feel sore if you haven’t exercised in a while, so start off slow.

  1. Lie down with your back flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head, with fingers intertwined. Make sure you do not pull on your neck.
  2. Raise your knees to a 45-degree angle in the air. Slowly start making a “pedaling” motion, as if you are riding a bike.
  3. As you “pedal,” bring your elbows to your knees, so that your right elbow meets your left knee and your left elbow meets your right knee.
  4. Repeat without sacrificing your form or losing your breath.

4. Bridge Exercise

Bridge exercises help to strengthen and stretch your abs, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. It is also a common rehabilitation exercise for core improvement and spinal stabilization.

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Place your arms flat near your sides.
  3. Engage your abs and glutes by squeezing them. Slowly lift your hips to create a straight line between your knees and shoulders.
  4. Hold the position for 15-60 seconds per rep, depending on your level of physical ability. Or, you can hold until you begin to lose control of your body.
  5. To increase intensity, lift your feet so that only your toes are touching the ground. Afterward, you can alternate so that only your heels are on the ground.

It is normal to anticipate a few challenges before beginning new core strengthening exercises. You’ll be working out muscles that have remained stagnant for an extended period of time. It is perfectly fine (and recommended!) to start off slow, as long as you consistently continue your exercises.

For more information and insight on how core strengthening can benefit you, contact NRG Athlete Therapy Fitness today. One of our experienced physiotherapists can provide a full physiotherapy evaluation and exercise plan for your specific needs!

Interested in Reaching Your Peak Performance? Try Athletic Training

Athletic training through physiotherapy treatments can help you reach your peak performance, whether you’re recovering from an injury or trying to strengthen your skills. A physiotherapist is dedicated to helping you reach your goals – and developing new ones! With athletic training programs, your peak performance is something that you and your physiotherapist will define, and something that can be grown upon throughout the course of your sessions.

Your physiotherapist will be right there with you, every step of the way, until you are able to reach your end goal. If you are interested in reaching your peak performance and learning more about athletic training, call NRG Athletes Physiotherapy today!

What does athletic training focus on?

Athletes, by nature, generally desire to push themselves to accomplish new goals. Sometimes an athlete may master one sport, only to take on the challenge of mastering a new one. Olympic sprinters take on the slopes at the winter games, and college athletes win national titles in multiple sports for this exact reason.

With athletic training, your goals never have to be definite. A physiotherapist can help you reach the peak of your performance in one sport and then help you tackle the summit of another. Just a few of the many advantages surrounding athletic training include:

  • Overcoming injuries. Physiotherapy treatments are some of the best ways to overcome an injury and find relief for your pain. Each treatment is designed specifically to the needs of each individual and the condition of their injury, consisting of exercises and strength-building activities that are unique to their recovery.
  • Refocusing strengths. A physiotherapist can help you focus on improving your strength in areas that you may not have considered. Many parts of the body influence each other, and strengthening one can help with the function of another. Rather than jumping directly into a new form of activity, it makes sense to train your body to react to the new form of stimulation by improving your muscular strength and range of motion.
  • Developing healthy habits. While a physiotherapist can help you reach physical goals, they can also help you work on general wellness goals, as well. For example, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a strong focus on hydration are fundamental in improving your physical fitness level. A physiotherapist is a great resource to have when focusing on increasing strength and muscular functionality, as they can help you improve in all aspects of health and wellness.

Seeking the help of a physiotherapist:

People most commonly turn to physiotherapy after sustaining an injury. You’re in pain, looking for relief and recovery, and trying to find the motivation to push yourself to get there. Physiotherapists are trained to help you bounce back from your injury, with just as much strength (if not more!) than you had before the injury. They are dedicated to always helping you reach your peak, whatever that may be.

Many times, physiotherapy is a step-by-step process. Each step focuses on realistic goals for you to reach, all leading up to the end goal that you and your physiotherapist create together. Schedule a consultation with one of our physiotherapists today to discuss your athletic goals and the steps you’ll need to take to reach them!

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