3 Tips to Truly Strengthening Your Core

Lower back exercises to keep your core strong and body balanced!

Chances are when you work out those abs, you tend to place your focus on the part of your core that you can see in the mirror. You check off glutes, your “abs”, your arms, etc, but one of the most crucial areas, your lower back, is often not in the spotlight.

Studio SWEAT onDemand’s founder and trainer, Cat Kom, and her trusty sidekick (also a trainer), Bethany, are here to stress the importance of strengthening your lower back as a critical part of your weekly routine!

The lower back plays an enormous part in stabilizing the body. The erector spinae muscles originates at the sacrum and extend vertically up the back along the spine. A.K.A. they function to straighten the back and provide side-to-side mobility. It’s important to give this area regular attention in order to minimize imbalances, injury, and back pain.

It’s never too late to start incorporating lower back exercises into your routine. With regular practice, your entire body will benefit from this add and you’ll be working on creating a strong frame for the rest of the body along the way. Here are a few simple exercises for you to start incorporating!

1. The traditional swimmer exercise begins with laying and spreading your arms and legs hip-width apart while facing the ground. By lifting your opposite arm to leg slowly, you will engage and strengthen those key muscles. Keep your head neutral and facing down throughout the entire exercise. For a bigger challenge, pick up the pace, switching off between sides! Although a pool isn’t required, you’ll rival Michael Phelps in the lower back department after finishing this exercise! 😉

2. The seal exercise is basically a modified superman exercise. In a traditional superman exercise, from your belly you lift your arms overhead while squeezing your glutes to raise straight legs off the ground from the hips. With the seal, a more tame and safer option, the chest and head are lifted with the arms pulled back by your hips, and you keep your toes glued to the ground.

3. Finally, you move into the good morning, or as Cat likes to call it… the good morning sunshine! This one is done standing up and also with feet hips width apart. The arms are placed by the head with hands spread apart behind your ears, or the arms spread out to the sides. In a forward movement you just bend at the hips, keeping your back flat until your torso is parallel to the ground. You then squeeze the glutes and focus on keeping your back straight as you return to standing. With practice and frequency you can advance this move by adding a bar to your shoulders to increase resistance.

With these and other lower and mid back exercises it’s important to not overdo them. You don’t ever want to feel like you tore the muscles in an effort to grow them like you might with your biceps or glutes. Why? Well because you’re asking for back pain and injuries that can set you back if you do. So rather just incorporate them into your routine 2 to 3 times per week doing about 3 rounds of 12 repetitions (so about 30 to 40 total), and really focus on good form.

With these exercises added to your fitness rotation, you can feel confident that you’re strengthening all the areas in your body rather than focusing on just the ones you can see. The back is out of sight (often, out of mind), but is a crucial player in the balance and overall harmony of the entire body.

Watch the entire video to see the demonstration of the exercises listed and for more trainer tip videos, check out https://www.studiosweatondemand.com/category/trainer-tip-videos/!

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