Bellevue Personal Training | Core ~ The ‘Big Four’ Exercises

These exercises all “bulletproof” the core and protect our backs from injury.

Bird Dog (or Cat Balance)

  • Start on hands and knees
  • Reach one arm forward and the opposite leg back
  • Align your leading arm, head, hips and leg
  • Hold for 10 seconds; switch sides
  • Perform minimum 3sets per side

Front Plank

  • Decide whether you will plank on forearms or hands
  • Bring entire body up off the floor, as if doing a pushup; either toes and hands support or toes and forearms
  • Contract abdominal wall, keep buttocks tucked down; line up entire body as if to look like a ‘plank’
  • Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, working up to 2 minutes
  • Perform 2 sets

Side Plank (or Side Bridge)

  • Lie on your side and place top leg over bottom leg, heel to toe
  • Position elbow at a 90 degree angle to torso
  • Brace core using minimal to moderate abdominal contraction; elevate torso off floor keeping a neutral spine
  • Hold for 10 seconds; rest and repeat 3 times on each side.
  • Another way to do this is dynamically, doing 10 – 12 repetitions on each side; switch and repeat on other side

Modified Curl Up

  • Extend one leg straight and bend other to 90 degrees, hands beneath lower back
  • Lift head and shoulders straight up to ceiling (but not as if doing a traditional crunch)
  • Engage core while holding spine as still and stable as possible
  • Perform three 10 second holds; switch legs and repeat

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