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  • Dr. Matt

Physical Therapist Approved Core Exercises

Like a good neighbor, your core is there. Or at least it's supposed to be. But for most people dealing with back, knee, or shoulder pain, research shows they have decreased activation of their mid-sections muscles. :(

But most core exercises out there are pretty useless when it comes to supporting your spine and keeping you pain-free. I've watched people do a hundred different crunch variations, seen exercises on a blue half ball that I'd like to unsee, and observed far too many core-targeting gadgets on QVC.

So what actually works for giving you a strong, toned midsection?

What follows are 12 Physical Therapist Approved Core Exercises from Southern California's top physical therapists.

But real quick, before we down and dirty with with 4-Act Alliteration for Abdominal Awesomeness, let me tell you about how to get access to our weekly health newsletter. If you're looking for the most up to date research and information on creating your own environment for health, enter your email below and get access to the newsletter.

In the Guide, we walk through the most important 12 exercises for building a bullet-proof and lean body, specifically for folks 50+

1.) Align

You wouldn't build a house on a foundation of sand and expect it to stay standing, right? It would collapse faster than a condo in Florida. Too soon?

It's the same with your core. You've got to have good alignment of your pelvis and ribcage if you want your core muscles functioning according to their design. Because we sit too often, eat food that doesn't communicate well with our bodies, and deal with chronic stress, most people walking around are stuck overusing some muscles in their bodies and underusing others.

Checking alignment is beyond the scope of this post, so instead I'll cut to the chase and give you three exercises that help align your body.

2.) Activate

So now you're aligned. It's time to activate. The best way to active your core is to use it in the way it's needed in everyday life. The core works kind of like a tetherball system. You hit the ball and it moves around the post. Your friend hits the ball and it moves the other way. Then you head back in from recess and try to make it through the rest of middle school without too much awkwardness.

The pole in this example is your core. The tetherball is your extremities as they move on your core. Does the pole move? I hope not or you're going to have some angry parents of middle schoolers on your hands.

Here's three exercises to keep your core rooted while your extremities move.

3.) Assist

It's not just the abs, people. You've got a host of muscles that surround your mid section supporting you every time you bend forward to tie your shoes and bend over backwards to accommodate that person at work who's never satisfied with anything. There are a few key muscles like the quadratus lumborum, the transversus abdominus, and the lumbar paraspinals that you need. See, probably didn't think those were your core, right? Well they are. And you need them. So train them.

4.) Assimilate

Dr. Erik will really like the "A" alliteration we have going here. He's a sucker for a good alliteration and a good core exercise. To “Assimilate” means to take something in and understand it fully. Doing the Squat, Deadlift, and Press and calling them "Core" exercises shows that you really understand that your CORE is best worked when you stress the entire system. So let's stress that system with the best 3 strength training exercises in existence the Squat, Deadlift, and Press.

Research shows that these muscles lead to THE BEST activation of some really important stabilizers of the lumbar spine.

Want to find out the best core exercise for YOU?

Right now, we are offering a FREE 30-minute Core Assessment with one of our amazing doctors of physical therapy.

If you're interested in applying for an assessment, fill out THIS form:

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