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...

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5 mistakes people make treating Lordosis

Apr 02, 2020

Lordosis is a condition that affects the lower back, exaggerating the curve of the spine and causing the abdomen and buttocks to protrude. It may also cause the knees and toes to point inwards and even cause rounding of the upper back. With lumbar Lordosis you may not see all these symptoms, but they very often happen in combination.


We’ve discussed Exercises for Lumbar Lordosis on the blog a number of times previously, but even when you know which exercises or stretches you should be doing it’s possible that you’re not getting the most out of them.  


In this tutorial I’m covering some of the most common mistakes people make when they’re treating Lordosis:


  1. You don’t continue the good work during your daily activities


If you work out and do the correct stretches for 30-60 mins per day that’s a great start for improving your Lordosis symptoms. The problem is there are 23+ hours during the remainder of...

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5 everyday causes of low back pain

Mar 19, 2020

Low back pain doesn’t have to be triggered by an event or accident. More often than not it is the result of a build-up or aggregation of actions over a period of time.

 The problem is these damaging actions can be pretty mundane things. Normal things you don’t realise are doing you damage. That’s why in this tutorial I want to address some of the everyday causes of low back pain. Because awareness of what you might be doing wrong can actually be half the battle.


 Repeated bending of the spine

 You drop something and quickly bend down to pick it up. You bend down to talk to or play with young children. You wash up each evening in a sink that’s slightly too low for you.

 All of these are actions that might happen every day, but that you perform without really thinking, and often in a rush, giving your body little or no time to prepare for the movement.

 Add to this sit ups and crunches that are more deliberate actions but when...

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Exercises That Build Real Core Stability

Mar 04, 2020

I’m sure you often hear people use the phrases core stability and core strength, but are you clear on what they actually mean and how they differ from one another? In this tutorial I discuss stabilising and strengthening muscles and how to make sure you’re doing the right exercises to get the right results.

 What is the difference between core strength and core stability?

 Core strength is the ability to hold a position or posture for a period of time and / or against a load.

Core stability is more about coordination and balance. It’s the extent to which we can exert control over our core muscles, engaging them or switching them on and off as necessary to support our movements.

 As you can see from this, the two are complementary but not the same, so it makes sense that we would concentrate on different exercises and movements to develop each one.

Exercises for core stability

Exercises that build up core stability focus on the small muscles, those...

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One key principle of posture training

Feb 19, 2020


One thing my clients hear me talking about a lot is the importance of good posture when it comes to back health. But thanks to the prevalence of desk jobs and handheld devices, good posture is not something that comes particularly naturally to many people.  The good news, though, is that good posture can be learned (and bad habits broken!) – and doing so will make a world of difference to your back health over the longer term. 

How to develop better posture

Improving your posture involves more than stretching, it is about teaching your body to hold itself in a different way. And then to maintain this even when you’re not consciously thinking about it. 

This takes time and it takes patience. But the benefits of doing so are huge, including providing your spine with better support during everyday activities and improving your quality of life for longer. 

But posture training isn’t a standalone activity, it’s something that needs to be...

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Should you strengthen your low back muscles with back extensions?

Feb 05, 2020

If you’ve been told to strengthen your low back muscles, it’s completely understandable you might think turning to back extension exercises is the way to go. After all, the more you work the muscles the stronger they’ll get, right? Well, not necessarily.

Just because your back muscles are strong does not mean you will be able to avoid back pain; I know plenty of really strong people who struggle with a bad back. Back extensions are not the answer, but there are other options. 

What do I mean by back extension exercises?

 When I talk about back extensions there are two types of exercise, in particular, that I am referring to:

  1. Using a rack, leaning your hips onto the cushioned part and bending forwards. 
  2. Laying on the floor, lifting your chest up and bending backwards. 

How do back extensions impact on your spine? 

It’s important to understand the impact that exercises such as back extensions can have on your spine and the muscles...

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Why you should swap sit ups and crunches for these core exercises

Jan 22, 2020

When you want to exercise your abdominals or core, it’s common to turn to sit ups, crunches and twists. After all, these are the exercises we’ve all been taught for years. And yes, perhaps you’ll see some benefits, providing you’re doing them correctly. But there is a trade-off – sit ups, crunches and twists can actually cause damage to your spine. 

There is a better way, however, and in this tutorial I show you how. 

What’s the problem with sit ups, crunches and twists?

There has been a tendency in the fitness industry over recent years to focus on body building techniques for core training, and even for rehabilitation. That is focusing on muscles individually and working them hard to strengthen them. But this is not how our bodies are design to work. We don’t use one muscle at a time, we use combinations of muscles to perform particular movements. This means that when we isolate a group of muscles to train them, we are in danger...

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How to build new and habits and changing them part 2

Jan 02, 2020

You may have heard a theory that it takes 90 days, or 10,000 hours to change a habit. While there is some truth in that, there is another level to changing habits, and that is 'deep practice'.

In a health and fitness context, deep practice can be applied to various objectives; from losing body fat, to improving fitness or refining sports skills. The repetition involved in deep practice begins a process known as 'myelination', which can be seen as the coating to an electrical wire, and allows the electrical signal which is sent when the brain 'fires' during an activity and allows it to move quickly, lending itself to a higher degree of accuracy in behaviour.

As we begin to repeat something, it allows us to refine a skill. So where does the development of a new habit come in? In fact, rather than directly coming from repetition, we can credit it to something which very few people like to do - making mistakes. Expose yourself to making a mistake - because it gives you the opportunity...

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How to build new and habits and changing them part 1

Dec 12, 2019

There are plenty of ways in which we are able to build and change habits, and this certainly applies in a health and fitness context. But before looking at exactly which methods lend themselves to positively altering our behaviour, it is fruitful to examine the science which goes on behind it. What exactly is happening in our body when we change a habit?

First, let's run through three definitions:

Central nervous system

The central nervous system comprises of the brain and the spinal cord, from which the peripheral nervous system stems.


This refers to the brain's ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections as life develops and changes.


Neuroplasticity is enabled by myelination - myelin is physically the fatty white substance which surrounds the axon of nerve cells. 

So, when we change habits on the inside, myelination refers to what happens when these connections occur, which gradually become stronger...

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7 ways to begin injury proofing your lower backĀ 

Nov 28, 2019

When it comes to injury, your lower back is particularly vulnerable due to the number of moving parts in the area and the amount of weight it has to bear. If you’ve ever experienced lower back pain, you’ll know how debilitating it can be. That’s why protection is the name of the game. By learning more about the way you move and putting the right habits in place, you’ll be able to safeguard the health of your back for a long and active future.

In the above tutorial, I share the top seven things I recommend you start doing immediately to protect your lower back and guard against pain. In summary: 

1. Train movement over muscle 

When you head to the gym for a workout, I’ll bet many of the activities you include in your session are about training your muscles to make them bigger and stronger. Your lower back will be better served if you turn this on its head and start training or practising movements instead. This may not feel like traditional...

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