Sculpt and Activate Your Core With These
4 Must-Do Core Activation Exercises
Want less low back pain? Want a stronger, leaner looking core? Then you first need to get the right muscles engaged and working.
Activation is an often forget piece of the workout puzzle. But if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you’ve got to get the right muscles activated and working.
That means not only stretching and rolling, but also using moves to focus and target specific muscle groups that may be under active because we sit way too much during the day, hunched over our devices.
These 4 must-do moves will activate your abs and glutes to prevent low back, hip and knee pain. They are also the perfect moves to include in your warm up to get more out of your core workouts so you can get strong, lean abs and glutes!
4 Must-Do Core Activation Exercises:
Exercise #1: Side Plank Clams
The Side Plank Clam is a must-do core activation move because it works not only your abs and obliquesbut also your glutes.
To do the Side Plank Clam, set up on your side propped up on your forearm with your elbow underneath your shoulder. Bend your knees so that your feet and lower legs are behind you. You can place your top hand on your hip or reach it up toward the ceiling, but don’t touch it down to the ground or use it to help you balance or press up.
Then lift your bottom hip up off the ground, driving through your knee and forearm. As you lift up, lift your top leg up and toward the ceiling, keeping the knee bent. Open up your legs, lifting your top knee toward the ceiling using your glute as if doing the clam exercise. You want to feel your butt working to open your knee up. Make sure to squeeze your glutes forward as you lift.
As you lower the leg back down, lower your hip back down to the ground. Repeat, lifting back up as raise your top knee up toward the ceiling. Complete all reps on one side before switching.
Exercise #2: Sit Thru To Thoracic Bridge
The Sit Thru to Thoracic Bridge may look like a move straight out of a horror film, but it is the best move to activate your glutes and core while also improving your shoulder stability and spinal mobility.
To do the Sit Thru to Thoracic Bridge, start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Flex your feet and lift up onto your hands and the balls of your feet. Then lift your right hand up and bring your left leg under your body and through and place your left foot flat on the ground. Rotate your hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes to lift them up as high as you can.
With your hips lifted, reach your right hand down toward the ground, rotating your chest toward the floor. Really reach your hand toward the ground as the rest of your body opens toward the ceiling to feel a nice stretch as you rotate. Feel your glutes working to keep BOTH hips up, while you reach your hand down.
Don’t let your hips drop as you rotate. Make sure though that you aren’t hyperextending your low back to bridge up but are instead squeezing your glutes. Then drop your hips and step your foot back through while placing your hand back down on the ground. Rotate to the other side, bridging your hips up as high as you can.
Exercise #3: Plank With Grips
Ever wonder why your wrists hurt during pull ups? Or maybe you’ve even struggled with elbow pain in the past? It may be due to a lack of wrist mobility. That is why I love the Plank with Grips. It allows you to work your entire core as you also mobilize and strengthen your wrists.
Some of these grips can be advanced so make sure to progress slowly and even start from your knees, off an incline or in the quadruped position.
To do the Plank with Grips, set up in a high plank position with your feet together and your hands under your shoulders. Your body should be in a nice straight line from your head to your heels. Brace your abs and squeeze your glutes as you flex your quads. To do the basic grip, spread your fingers and grip the ground with your hands pointing straight ahead.
You can change up the grip from here, moving to your knuckles with a straight wrist or even rotating your hands out and back so your fingers face back toward your knees. If you are ready for even more of a challenge, you can flip your hands over with your fingertips pointing in toward each other and hold on the back of your hands. Make sure you can handle the pressure and mobility of each move and that your arms can stay straight.
Exercise #4: Glute Bridge With Squeeze
Your glutes are an important part of your core. And so are your adductors aka your INNER THIGHS. This move works them both and is a must-do move for any runners out there hoping to prevent knee, hip and low back pain!
To do the Glute Bridge with Squeeze, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Start with your feet just beyond your fingertips when you stretch your arms down by your sides and place the block or book between your knees. When you squeeze the object tight between your knees, your ankles, knees and hips should all be in alignment.
Then bend your elbows to 90 degrees so that only your upper arms are on the ground and brace your abs. Driving through your heels and upper back and arms, bridge up, lifting your glutes up off the ground. Squeeze the block and drive your hips up as high as possible without hyperextending your low back. Squeeze your glutes to lift and brace your abs as you extend your hips and squeeze the block. Feel your glutes and even your inner thighs working to help you bridge and hold the block.
Squeeze your glutes for a second or two at the top and then lower all the way back down to the ground before repeating. Do not lose the block as you bridge and lower. Squeeze and engage the entire time even when you lower to the ground.
Activation Is Just One Piece Of The Puzzle…
If you want to prevent aches and pains throughout your body and really get your core and glutes firing, you need to Foam Roll + Stretch + Activate.
Learn more about the RStoration Method by clicking to the next page 🙂