Core Exercises for People With Weak Abdominals
Core muscles include the abdominals, diaphragm (breathing muscle), and muscles around the lower back, buttocks and pelvis. These muscles keep the body upright, allow it to bend and twist, and stabilize the spine while the arms and legs are moving. Weak abdominal muscles alter body mechanics and increase risk of injury to bones and ligaments. Strong abdominal muscles assist the lower back muscles with protection of the spine and are essential for good posture. Perform abdominal strengthening exercises to improve core stability.
Perform a pelvic tilt exercise to strengthen your abdominal muscles and improve core stability. Lie on a firm surface, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Pull your belly button down toward your spine and tighten your abdominal muscles as you flatten your lower back against the floor. Hold this position for five seconds, and then relax. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets. Breathe while you hold your abdominal muscles tight to avoid excess pressure on your heart.
Advanced Pelvic Tilt Exercises
Perform a pelvic tilt while lying on your back. March slowly by lifting one knee at a time toward the ceiling. Keep your lower back flat against the floor throughout the movement. Repeat 10 times on each leg, and then relax your abdominal muscles. Work up to three sets in a row. Resume the pelvic tilt position and slowly lift both arms up and over your head. Hold for three seconds and slowly bring them back to your sides. Breathe throughout this exercise and keep your lower back flattened against the floor. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets.
Progress to bridging exercises as your abdominal strength increases. Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet on the floor. Squeeze your butt muscles together and lift your hips up off the floor. Hold this position for three seconds and slowly lower back down. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets. Increase the difficulty by performing marches in a bridged position. Start with 10 repetitions and work up to three sets.
Sit on a stability ball (22 to 26 inches) with your feet on the floor and hips bent to a 90-degree angle. Perform a pelvic tilt and hold this position. Slowly straighten your right knee and hold it out straight for three seconds. Bring your foot back to the floor and repeat with the left leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg and work up to 3 sets. Maintain the pelvic tilt position to keep your abdominal muscles tight throughout the movement.
Aubrey Bailey has been writing health-related articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University at Buffalo, as well as a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Utica College. Dr. Bailey is also a certified hand therapist.