Forget your six-pack goals. Core strength is super important for health and fitness beyond just having great abs! Weak core muscles can leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries. Strengthening core muscles may also help improve back pain. Here are some tips for getting the basics right.

The plank is a great starting exercise in a home core strength routine.  You can do it anywhere, without equipment, and there are variations to make it easier (start on knees) or harder (for example, using therabands or adding movement of limbs) if necessary.

Most people have heard of or done the plank at some stage in their exercising life.  Many of them though, have either not done or not heard of the side plank or the reverse plank.

Whilst all of the plank exercises will target a variety of muscles, if you think of them as mostly targeting the surface of the body closest to the ground, you can appreciate that by adding the reverse and side plank (both sides) you will be activating muscles around the entire cylinder (or core) rather than just one small area.

So, if you think you’d like to strengthen more of the muscles involved in your “core”, I’d recommend you add the reverse and side planks to your routine today.  And remember, you’re better holding a straight plank position for shorter periods than doing a “saggy” plank for longer!

PLANK VARIATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reverse Plank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side Plank

Dr Brad Robinson, Osteopath