Core Strength: The Key to Your Body’s Balance and Frame Health


If you want to maintain good posture and avoid muscle pain in the neck, back, hips, legs, and more, you need to primarily strengthen the abdomen and lower back, which make up the base of the trunk or more commonly known as the core.

We must think of our body as a communication system: the core muscles connect with the legs and it is these muscles, the abdominal and lower back muscles, that help you to stand, walk, bend and squat or stoop.

The abdominal muscles protect and support your spine and lower back, while the hip muscles connect them. If the core muscles are weak, the efficient functioning of the arms and legs will be impaired. This will undermine your physical performance, your mobility, and worse, your confidence on your body to make any movement.

Today I will share with you some of the keys that will allow you to become aware of your posture, observant of corrections and how to keep it going to avoid body pain.


Abdominal Strength is Involved in Practically Everything we do:

In routine activities such as standing or putting your shoes on, lifting a bag, looking back, or sitting down. In Housework, grooming and gardening because vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, reaching, twisting, or hammering, all engage the core muscles to carry out these activities.

On the other hand, jobs like sitting for hours at a desk, typing, and the like result in stiff and sore back muscles if you don't have good posture and take enough breaks.

Only when you feel difficulty or discomfort in performing routine activities and physical tasks, you do realize that core muscles have weakened.

Back pain can be prevented or treated both with exercises that strengthen it, as well as with exercises to strengthen the antagonist muscle, which in this case corresponds to the abdomen.  Abdominal strength will not only reduce lower back pain, but will also provide immediate improvement in body posture, efficiency in the movements of limbs and joints, which consequently will help prevent injuries and improve physical and sports performance, if necessary.


Be Aware of the Correct Posture

If the muscles of the abdominal area are weak, the spine does not have enough support to maintain the proper natural posture, so other muscles will be engaged to compensate for an upright but inefficient posture.

Inadequate posture leads to postural instability, tension in the neck and shoulders, pain and/or injury to the lower back, as this leads to restricted movement, digestive problems, breathing difficulties, fatigue, headaches, chronic pain and problems.

Nonetheless, all these complications can be solved starting today by teaching your body to become aware of the proper posture and to keep it going!

Be mindful of constantly checking your posture while sitting, standing, or exercising.

  1. While Standing Upright. This means:

 Chin parallel to the ground

  • Even shoulders, that is, take them up, back and then down to achieve their right location
  • Arms to the sides and relaxed elbows
  • Push back the abdominal muscles
  • Even hips
  • Even knees pointing forward
  • Toes pointing forward
  • Body weight distributed between the two legs


  1. Neutral Natural Alignment. This means that it keeps the body in a straight line from head to toe, except for the subtle natural curves of the spine.
  • In a sitting or standing posture, your spine is neither flexed nor arched to emphasize the curvature of your lower back.
  • Achieve neutral position by pushing your tailbone forward slightly without it being a forced or uncomfortable movement and then pushing it back as far back as you can but not be uncomfortable. The natural alignment is approximately in the middle of these two limits.
  • If you are not in the habit of standing or sitting up straight, it may take some time getting used to. A neutral posture is straight and firm, not arched, but not hunched over either.


Useful tips before performing abdominal strengthening exercises

Permanently review the correct posture and technique. Take into account your level of practice and start with the easiest exercises.

  1. Warm up before performing abdominal exercises. If you're at home, take a short walk while swinging your arms from side to side.
  2. Be mindful of the alignment. Follow the exercise instructions carefully and learn when to breathe in, when to breathe out, and what is the range of motion of the core.
  3. The repetitions or the time to hold the posture. Only do as many reps as you can manage as long as you don't lose proper alignment and posture. Start by doing a number of reps or holding the posture for seconds gradually. Once you get a complete set, add another.
  4. Make sure you don't feel pain. It is normal to feel that the abdominals and the muscles that make up this area are straining. If you feel pain in any part of the body, stop the practice and check your posture, if the pain continues, consult your doctor.
  5. Exercise often. You will begin to see the results of abdominal strengthening in a few weeks. Try to exercise three to four times a week.
  6. Tighten your stomach muscles. When performing sit-ups and indeed any other exercise, focus on tightening your stomach muscles. This action will immediately have an effect on your posture and the way you perform the activity.
Keep the following in mind: While lying down, sitting, or standing, gently but firmly squeeze your abdominal muscles, pulling your navel toward your back and your tailbone forward. Once you've tightened your stomach, a gentle push from any direction shouldn't throw you off balance.

Some trainers advise imagining that you are putting on a pair of tight jeans and you have to squeeze to be able to close the zipper, that would be the position. It's a matter of practice, so try holding your stomach for 10 seconds while breathing normally.

  1. Goal number 1 is to protect the spine. If you only do abdominal exercises but don't strengthen your back muscles simultaneously, you're not doing the job properly. (Soon we will be reviewing some exercises for the back)
  1. Abdominal flexibility. Sports such as swimming, golf, and tennis; as well as housework such as sweeping, mopping and gardening require more than abdominal strength and it is advisable to add stretches so that your movements are fluid by rotating the trunk, as well as easiness when slightly arching the back.
  1. Start with stability exercises and then move on to instability exercises. First practice movement pattern exercises like scissors, bridges, planks on a flat surface. Then move on to alternate legs, rotations and so on.
  2. If it's too hard, try an easier variation; if it's too easy, increase the level. As your body adjusts to doing the exercises with correct posture and alignment, you can add 10 more repetitions or 10 more seconds of resistance.


Abdominal strengthening exercises

A note on Breathing:

In the exercises of holding a posture for several seconds, try to breathe calmly during the time you are holding the posture. As for the exercises that require repetitions, you should breathe in through your nose during the starting position and exhale through your mouth during the effort.


Abdominal plank


Img.: Taco Fleur en Pxby

This exercise engages all the core muscles. Make sure your back is STRAIGHT and your abdominal muscles, buttocks, and thighs are involved in maintaining the posture. To increase the difficulty, alternate lifting one arm and the opposite leg for 10 seconds. First with one knee on the ground and then without supporting the knee. Then repeat with the other side.


Side plank


Img.: Hipcravo en Pxby

This exercise strengthens the lateral part of the hip and gives it stability. Make sure your hips are well aligned and parallel to the ground; at the same time forming a straight line from the ankles to the shoulders. To increase difficulty, raise your top leg a few inches and hold for 10 seconds. Then switch sides.


Bicycle leg-crunches


Img.: 5132824 rn Pxby

In a lying position on the floor and face up, the legs are extended, and the hands are placed on the sides of the head. The right knee is then bent while twisting the torso from the left so that the right knee and left elbow meet. Then it is repeated with the opposite side and alternating successively, trying to do about 15-20 repetitions.


Navasana or Boat Pose


Doing this exercise correctly strengthens the abdominus rectus, internal and external obliques. Make sure your abs are tight by gently pulling your navel toward your back and keeping your back straight. The legs can be straight elevated at about 45º or the knees flexed. Extend your arms in the direction of your calves, hold, go back to the starting position.


Bridge Pose and Single Leg Variation


Img.: El País

This is a posture that improves spinal and abdominal stability. This posture isolates and strengthens the gluteal and hamstring muscles. Hold for 15-30 seconds in a controlled manner. For a more advanced variation, try lifting one leg parallel to the ground and holding for 30 seconds.

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