Thursday, August 21, 2014
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5 core strengthening exercises to do at home

There's no way around it. If you want to improve as an athlete, you need a strong core.

5 core strengthening exercises to do at home

There is no way around it—becoming a healthy, stronger, better and faster athlete requires a strong core.  You need to have the proximal strength and stability in order for your limbs to be able to operate in the healthiest, strongest and most efficient manner. Strengthening your core does not mean doing 500 sit ups a day and it does not require fancy gym machines. In fact most machines at the gym perform the stabilization for you so you are not even using your core. Most people hate doing core exercises as it is the area they are weakest in. The exercises people hate doing the most are usually the ones they need to concentrate on the most. 

This is a list of 5 exercises that can be done at home to work your core. You need no equipment to do so.  When you work your core the most important thing to pay attention to is form. Having the correct form will allow you to develop the strongest muscles possible and make you a better athlete. These exercises are difficult but not impossible and since they are body weight they can be done 3-4 times per week.  Incorporating them into an already existing workout is also a possibility. They do not all have to be done in this exact order and in this cluster. The most important thing is that you do them. Find the time and do them. 

  1. The plank – Shown in the video from your elbows and your hands. The goal is to hold this for one minute 3 times. To make this harder, you can lift one leg off the ground and perform that for one minute 3 times each side.
  2. The side plank – This also can be done from the elbow or the hand as shown in the video. The hand will create a greater challenge. This is also one that you want to hold for 1 minute; three times each side. As it gets easier, try lifting the top leg. Make sure your body is in a straight line. 
  3. The reverse plank – Again can be performed from your hands or your elbows. The hands do provide more of a challenge. Hold this for one minute 3 times.  As you get better you can lift one leg up and hold that 1 minute 3 times each leg. Do not let your butt sag, push it up as high as it can go.
  4. Hip abduction – The main goal that you want to remember with this is that the leg comes back slightly and that the hips and shoulders stay in a straight line. If you bring the leg forward it will become easier but work differently then what it is supposed to. You should perform 30-40 of these and three sets each side. 
  5. Spidermans – This is probably the most difficult of all the exercises. These can be modified depending on your fitness level. Shown in the video are the most challenging way to be done.  They can also be done as push-ups with just a leg lifted. Start with sets of 10 and work your way up to 3 sets of 30. 

These exercises should be very challenging and like previously stated form is everything. Do them each to the best of your ability. If you are not able to hold the sets as long as stated then work your way up.  The core is an often overlooked area and there is no machine at the gym that can duplicate performing these exercises at home.  

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

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Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales, Pa.
About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

Kelly O'Shea Sports Medicine & Fitness Editor,
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician for Drexel, Philadelphia Univ., Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Martin J. Kelley, PT, DPT, OCS Advanced Clinician at Penn Therapy and Fitness, Good Shepherd Penn Partners
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales, Pa.
David Rubenstein, M.D. Team Orthopedist for 76ers; Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
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