How to build greater core stability

Apr 15, 2020

Core stability is different to core strength and in the tutorial above I'm going to use one exercise to help you understand how building core stability is done. It's not just about the exercise in this tutorial as there are many exercises you can use. I'm going to focus on the how to do the exercise so you can take that into other exercises.

What is core strength?

Core strength is your ability to hold a posture while resisting fatigue. The longer your can hold the posture the better your core strength. Exercises you can use to improve this could be planks and side planks.

What is core stability?

Core stability is about muscle activation and your ability to remain stable in an unstable posture. The less you wobble in this unstable posture the better your core stability. The exercise I'm using in this tutorial to demonstrate core stability is the bird dog. It's a perfect exercise for core stability because it integrates the shoulder, spine and hip.

Does standing on one leg help core stability?

Not as effectively as it could because standing on one leg brings the ankle joint into the exercise. It becomes the dominant joint and takes away from the hip, spine and shoulder. If you need to improve ankle stability it's the perfect exercise but not for what we need it for. As you get better at balancing from the hip it's good to move onto your feet as this will integrate the ankle into the core.

The Bird Dog Exercise

You start on all fours in the box position, with hands below shoulders and knees below hips. If you're more of a beginner you'll start with a wider stance at the knees and hands. As you get better you'll make your stance narrower to encourage greater instability into the exercise. Next you find the neutral posture of the spine, which is the natural S-Curve. As a beginner you start by lifting one arm, then one leg and then repeat on the opposite side. As you progress you're going to lift the right leg and left arm and repeat on the opposite side. With the wide to narrow stance this is how you make an exercise more unstable.

How do I know I'm stable?

You want to be able to lift your arm and leg simultaneously from the floor in a slow and controlled manner until the both straight, pause and you want you hips and shoulders to remain level with minimal wobble. When you find yourself able to do this you can narrow your stance and start the process again.

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