Core stability exercises

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article defining core stability and why it is so important to correctly activate and maintain during our recreational and daily activities. In this article, I would like to continue with this topic and discuss some basic core stability exercises.

  • Jan. 25, 2011 5:00 p.m.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article defining core stability and why it is so important to correctly activate and maintain during our recreational and daily activities. In this article, I would like to continue with this topic and discuss some basic core stability exercises.

Remember the 4 main muscle groups that make up the core are Transversus Abdominus (TA), Multifidus (MF), Pelvic Floor muscles (PFM), and the Diaphragm. Today, we will discuss the activation of Transversus Abdominus (TA), which is the deepest abdominal muscle that wraps around your abdomen like a corset and is connected to tissue surrounding the spine.

To start, we need to first ensure your pelvis is in its neutral position. Sit tall and comfortably with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your hips and see if you can first isolate ‘rocking’ your pelvis forward and back, i.e., rock pelvis by increasing the arch in your low back so that you roll towards the front part of your sit bones, then rock the pelvis back as if you are trying to flatten your low back and are now sitting on the back part of the sit bones. Do this a few times and then come to the ‘middle’ of these two extremes to find that ‘neutral’ position. This will be your starting position to activate TA. Now place one hand on your belly and naturally feel your belly move forward into your hand when you INHALE a regular breath. Then, as you exhale, gently activate TA by indrawing your belly in towards your spine. Do this a few times then see if you can keep the TA activation (keep belly in towards your spine) as you continue to breathe normally. Next, we can progress to moving the limbs while still keeping the pelvis in the neutral position, keeping TA activated, and continuing to breathe normally. So try lifting each arm up and down. Then try lifting one leg (as if you’re marching in sitting). Perform slowly, as it is more difficult and more effective. Easier said than done! If you find it too easy, you likely aren’t keeping your pelvis neutral or your core engaged correctly. You can also try this same series while lying on your back: Keep your knees bent so your feet are flat on the floor. 1) find neutral pelvis 2) correctly activate TA with an exhalation 3) keep TA activated while breathing normal 4) move each limb slowly and without changing the position of your pelvis. When you are lying on your back, ensure you are NOT using your stronger Rectus Abdominus muscle to compensate. If your belly ‘pops’ up towards the ceiling while you move your limbs, you know you have engaged the incorrect abdominal muscle and are therefore performing the activity incorrectly and ineffectively. You can also repeat these same progressions while lying on your stomach and then also while on your hands and knees: Arm lifts up and forward (one at a time), leg kicks (knee straight) and then also try lifting your opposite arm and leg at the same time. More advanced core stability activities may involve a plank position by supporting yourself up on your elbows and feet while maintaining all the above. There are many more progressions including standing balance and other functional activities. Pelvic Floor muscle activation can also be added. Remember, a stable core reduces strain on the spine by helping maintain optimal postural alignment which will help reduce risk of injuries whether you are playing sports, doing housework, simply walking or sitting and driving.

To ensure you are correctly engaging your core and to incorporate safe and appropriate core exercises to suit your needs, it is wise to invest your time with a qualified trainer or physiotherapist for a few sessions first.

This article is not intended to diagnose or treat. Please consult with your physician or other health care provider before attempting the exercises. Shelly Prosko is a Registered Physiotherapist and Yoga Therapist at Sun City Physiotherapy Winfield. She can be contacted at the Winfield clinic (250.766.2544) or by email at

Just Posted

Cowboy entertainment returns to O’Keefe Ranch

Cowboy Dinner Show back every Friday in July and August

Spend Father’s Day at the GolfBC Championship

Looking for a last minute plan for spending time with dad?

Kelowna kids take to the sky with COPA event

The Kelowna Flying Club invited youth between the ages of eight and 17 to join them.

Education opportunity of a lifetime for Okanagan Y volunteer

Madeline Bishop receives $10,000 four-year scholarship

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

What’s happening

It’s dad’s weekend so be sure to check out all of the events in your community

B.C. NHL prospect expected to make ‘full recovery’ after incident in Calgary

Jordy Bellerive was injured in a reported house fire Saturday night

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Former Penticton Vee recovering in hospital

Pittsburgh Penguin prospect expected to make full recovery

UPDATE: RCMP investigating overnight incident on Lakeshore Road

Evidence markers noting blood stains on road

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

Police say Salmon Arm youth who posted about shooting students no longer a threat

Group which alerted RCMP to tweets says it issued a Code Red, highest level of alert

B.C. VIEWS: Orphans of our urban drug culture neglected again

Child advocate Bernard Richard leaves B.C. with harsh message

From marijuana beer to pot cookies, Canadian companies creating cannabis edibles

Manufacturers think that edibles will do well with users who don’t want to smoke or vape

Most Read