Leaflet: Core stability exercises

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Last updated: April 2020
Next review: April 2022
URN: 500

Core stability exercises

Deep Abdominals

1.1 Deep Abdominals – Setting
Lie on back with knees bent up at a comfortable angle and feet flat on the ground. Find the neutral position for spine. You do this by flattening your back completely and then arching your back and finding the midpoint between the two. Place hands onto bony prominences at front of pelvis level with navel.

Breathe down into tummy. Breathe out and very gently draw navel towards spine. Feel the muscles under fingertips tighten. Keep spine neutral. Take 3 more normal breaths and then relax.

1.2 Deep Abdominals – Alternate leg fall outs
Breathe in, breathe out, engage abdominals as in the setting, allow one leg to gently fall away from the midline. As soon as you feel any movement in the pelvis stop, breathe in, breathe out and return to starting position.

1.3 Deep Abdominals – Alternate leg slides
Breathe in, breathe out, engage abdominals and gently slide one heel away from you. Breathe in, breathe out and return to starting position. Keep pelvis stable throughout.

1.4 Deep Abdominals – Alternate bent leg lifts
Breathe in, breathe out, engage abdominals and lift one leg so the hip and knee are at 90 degrees. Breathe in, breathe out and return to starting position. Keep pelvis stable throughout and relax abdominals between lifts.

1.5 Deep Abdominals – Reverse Sit-up
Start in a sitting position with legs bent up and arms by your side. Slowly lower yourself back down as far as you can control and then come back up again to the start position. The aim is to be able to control this movement well and eventually lower all the way down. It is like a reverse sit-up.

4 Point Kneeling

2.1 4 Point Kneeling – Setting
On hands and knees with wrists below shoulders and knees below hips.

Make sure back is horizontal (neutral). Allow tummy to relax but do not let back sag. Breathe in and then breathe out and gently lift navel towards spine, engaging pelvic floor muscles and flattening stomach. Breathe in to hold and then breathe out and slowly release.

2.2 4 Point Kneeling – Single arm stretch
Maintain the setting position (naval to spine) and on breathing out slowly lift one arm to horizontal. Breathe in to hold, then breathe out and slowly lower arm and relax abdominals.

2.3 4 Point Kneeling – Single leg stretch
Maintain the setting position and then on breathing out slowly lift one leg to the horizontal behind you. Breathe in to hold, then breathe out and slowly lower leg and relax abdominals.

2.4 4 Point Kneeling – Opposite arm and leg stretch
Maintain the setting position and then on breathing out slowly lift one arm and the opposite leg to the horizontal. Breathe in to hold, then breathe out and slowly lower arm and leg and relax abdominals.

Bridging

3.1 Bridging – Double Leg
Lying on your back with your knees bent up, breathe in, breathe out, engage deep abdominals and gently roll pelvis off the ground. Imagine lifting each individual vertebra. Breathe in, breathe out and gently roll back to starting position. Keep pelvis steady.

3.2 Bridging – Single Leg
This is the same as the double leg bridging but when you reach the top of the lift slowly straighten one leg. Keep pelvis steady and do not squeeze knees together.

Gluteals

4.1 Gluteals – Clams
Lying on your side with your back and pelvis neutral and knees bent up. Breathe in, breathe out, engage deep abdominals and gently lift the top  leg, keeping ankles together. Breathe in to hold, breathe out and gently lower. Do not let pelvis roll back.

4.2 Gluteals – Clams with theraband
As above but with a length on theraband tied around your knees.

4.3 Gluteals – Abduction in side lying
Lying on your side with your back and pelvis neutral and legs out straight. Breathe in, breathe out, engage deep abdominals and gently lift top leg in line with body. Breathe in to hold, breathe out and gently lower.

Do not let pelvis roll back or leg come forwards.

4.4 Gluteals – Abduction in side lying with theraband
As above but with a length of theraband tied round your ankles.