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When I do planks, and some other exercises that require a higher level of stability than average, the trainer always tells me that my core is weak, and that I need to make it stronger.

Can any of you suggest some of these exercises that will help me increase my core strength? It would really help if there are related photos/or videos.

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This is a nice related article: startingstrength.com/articles/core_stability_rippetoe.pdf –  Kate Apr 19 '13 at 6:05
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Squats. –  Doc Apr 19 '13 at 15:33
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Kate has given you a great article to read. I agree with this article as well.

As a sports PT, I can tell you that people do not realize how much your core is actually working when you do exercises like squats, deadlifts, clean and jerks, clean and presses, and etc.

  1. If your trainer is telling you that your core is weak, you should ask your trainer to give you some exercises to strengthen your core. After all, you are paying him/her to train you right?

  2. However, you should keep in mind that "core stability" has lots to do with the entire chain, not just the abdominal region. This goes from scapular stabilizers to the hamstring muscles to the deep intercostal/diaphragm as well.

  3. One way to strengthen your core stability is to try doing more exercises with single leg stance or on uneven surfaces from now on. For example, try standing on one leg and doing bicep curls, standing shoulder presses, etc. to get your core to engage more. Also, you can try standing on an uneven surface like a bosu ball when doing exercises.

Another way to increase core stability is to perform dumbbell exercises (chest presses, etc.) on a stability ball. You must be extra careful as you may lose some balance at first.

Keep in mind that if you are going to train for just core stability, you may lose the ability to gain true strength because you may not be able to perform heavy weight liftings while you are on uneven surfaces.

Here are some of the best exercises to strengthen the entire "core stability:"

  1. Kneeling Stability Ball Rollout
  2. Stability Ball Hamstring Curl
  3. Dumbbell Squat Swing
  4. Dumbbell Golfer Swing

Ask your trainer to give you a specific core stability program. Good luck!

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+1 This is especially good exercise. I will add: make sure you have a spotter when starting out doing exercises that challenge your balancing via bosu, ball, or single leg. Bonus points if the spotter is a PT who can make sure you are using correct form. –  Moses Apr 19 '13 at 15:14
    
@Moses Great point. Totally agree with you regarding using a knowledgeable spotter for proper form and safety is best if possible. –  DrTrungNguyen Apr 19 '13 at 15:41
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Follow the Strong Lifts or Starting Strength novice weight lifting programs, and you'll develop a strong "core". These programs utilize a 5x5 or 3x5 scheme (5 sets of 5 reps, or 3 sets of 5 reps) with incremental loading (you increase the weight 5 lbs per work out). The lifts in these program are:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • overhead press
  • bench press (with proper form you actually transfor some force from the ground through your feet and arched back)
  • pendlay rows
  • clean
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