Top 6 Exercises to Strengthen Your Core


Many of us are still working from home sitting at tables and chairs that may not be the most supportive. When I do virtual consultations with my clients, I find that they are sitting much longer at home than they did when they worked from their offices and their backs are not happy about it!

Take advantage of the fact that you are home! Get up, walk around, get some fresh air. And while you’re at it, do these exercises to increase your core strength and eliminate back pain!

The Bridge

This is a great exercise to strengthen your gluteus maximus and your lumbar paraspinals.

Contract your abdominals and initiate the movement from your glutes, not your spine. Squeeze your buttocks as you lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Keep squeezing as you hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 15 x Work up to 30.

Clamshells/side leg lifts

These two exercises I’m counting as one because they are better together! They target your gluteus medius muscles and must be performed with meticulous attention to form.


Lie on your side with your hip facing the ceiling with your hips, knees and ankles together.

Lift your your knee up towards the ceiling only as high as you can while maintaining the neutral position of your hips (don’t allow your hips to roll backward).

Hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 15 x Work up to 30.

Side leg lifts

Immediately following the clamshells, go right into the side leg lifts. Maintain the same position, making sure your hips are not rocking back. Straighten your top leg and lift it up. The trick here is not to allow the leg to drift forward as you lift it up. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 15 x Work up to 30.

Planks (Front/side)

Again, I’m counting these two exercises as one because you can’t pay attention to just one aspect of your abdominals.

Since you will already be lying on your side after doing the side leg lifts, just go into the lateral or side plank. There are several ways to do this but start with the basic.

Maintain alignment of your shoulders/hips/knees and ankles. Prop yourself up onto your elbow with your upper arm resting on your side or with your hand on your hip. Keep your abdominals and glutes engaged. Try to maintain for 15 seconds then 30 seconds then 45 seconds then 60.

Front planks

Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up onto both elbows with your forearms facing forward (not angled in towards one another) and your toes. Keep your abdominals engaged, don’t allow your lumbar spine to arch up or down. Try to maintain for 15 seconds then 30 seconds then 45 seconds and then 60.

The bird dog

This is a great all around core stability exercise. You must maintain a neutral position with as little accessory movement as possible. It’s a great exercise for the stabilizer muscles.

Right after performing the front plank, prop up onto your hands and knees. Keep your head in neutral position (you’ll be looking at the floor). Lift your right arm up pointing it directly in front of you. Simultaneously lift your left leg up. Keep your abdominals engaged, maintain a neutral spine. Hold for 10 seconds and then switch. Repeat 10 x each side.

These can be done daily or every other day. Your low back will thank you.

Book Authored by Deidre Ann Johnson

Keep this handy book by your desk while working or in your carry on when travelling for tips to keep you flexible and pain free.