06 March 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Core Exercises – The Basics

Going back to basics.  I thought it would be a good idea to present some basic exercises – and the best place to start is with the Core.  Building a strong core is indispensible – for weight training and all other forms of physical activity.

I will do periodic posts in this series of basic exercises, and each time I will make sure to note that it is the “next in the series” so anyone interested can build their own set of exercises from the posts.   Some will come from outside sources (where I find just the perfect photo to demonstrate) and some I will develop with my own photos.

Basic Core is synonymous with Plank  – definitely every trainer’s favorite exercise for the past and next few years. 

I came across the perfect photo to demonstrate the basic Plank, and this in fact is what prompted me to start this series of posts on basic exercise.

I will also build on the basics – in particular building on the Plank to make it more challenging and thus offering greater core strength.

Plank Basic:

1.    From a kneeling position, place your forearms on the mat with your elbows shoulder-width apart. Interlace your fingers. Walk your feet back until your legs are straight behind you and you’re balancing on your toes (with feet hip-width apart). Contract your abdominal muscles to hold your pelvis off the floor. Pause and breathe in this position.


                           Figure 1 Basic Plank Good Form

Notes:  The aim is to have a straight line from your shoulders to your hips. 

  • Don’t let your hips sag (this can happen if you try for a straight line from head to heels) , it puts a strain on the lower back.
  • Don’t think of sticking your butt in the air either.   Adjust by tightening your abs and holding your hips up so they are in line with your shoulders.  Having a mirror to help see, then “feel” the position,  is very helpful.


Add an extra challenge to your elbow plank exercises by balancing on one leg at a time. It helps to strengthen your core, spine, legs and the deep muscles in your upper back.

                                      Figure 2  Plank Step 2 More Challenging

2.    Concentrate on keeping your hips and shoulders level to the floor as you shift your weight to your right leg. Slowly lift your left leg off the floor. Do not let your midsection collapse toward the floor. Pause for six seconds, then lower your leg. Shift your weight to your left leg and raise your right leg. Pause for six seconds. Bend your knees and sit back on your heels to rest

Taken from an article in the LA Times by Karen Voight.

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