Whether you’re preparing for a marathon race or a marathon teleconference, a strong core can help keep you in the game, reports the Washington Post. Your core is made up of dozens of muscle groups, including those in your back, glutes, pelvic floor, and abs, which work with other muscles to give you strength and stability. It’s important to keep them in top shape because weak core muscles can put strain on other muscles, increasing your risk of injury. Runners with a strong core, for instance, will have better posture, which can reduce lower back pain during a race. And the same goes for people who sit at a desk most days—a strong core supports your hip and back muscles, which can minimize back pain. So, if you want to stay spry while you’re putting in long hours at the office, or attempting to conquer the world with your athletic prowess, give some of these core-strengthening exercises a try:
- Bird dog. Get down on hands and knees in a table-like position. Raise your right arm and left leg at the same time until both are parallel with your body. Lower your leg and arm back down and repeat. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps on both sides.
- Dead bug. Lie on your back with your arms straight up in the air and your legs bent at a 90° angle—in an overturned-table position. Lower your left leg and right arm to the floor so they are parallel to your body. Raise your leg and arm to your original position; then repeat. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps on both sides.
- Plank. Lie on your stomach and raise up onto your elbows and toes. Make sure to position your elbows underneath your shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps.
- Clamshell. Lie on your right side with your legs bent. While keeping your feet together, raise your left knee, so your knees move away from one another. Lower your knee back down and repeat. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps on both sides.
- Gluteus bridge. Lie on your back with your arms stretched out on the floor perpendicular to your body in a “T” shape. Keep your knees bent with your feet on the floor. Without lifting your head or shoulders, raise your glutes into the air. Lower your glutes back down and repeat. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps.
Source: Washington Post