The 10 Core Stability Exercises to Build a Strong Trunk

You don’t have to be an athlete to focus on your core stability, in fact, everyone should be focusing on it as a part of their physical health routine. That is why we have created a list of the 10 core stability exercises you should add into your workouts.

6 min read
Sean's profile
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
29/03/22
Last updated
25/08/22
In This Resource
  • Benefits of Core Stability Exercises
  • 1. Everyday Health
  • 2. Sports Performance
  • 3. Injury Mitigation
  • Sample Core Stability Workout
  • How To Use Core Strengthening Exercises
  • 1. In Full Body Resistance Training Sessions
  • 2. As Stand Alone Session
  • What is Core Stability?
  • Core Stability Training Principles
  • Start with Exercises for Your Ability.
  • Progress the Difficulty of The Exercise.
  • Change the exercise selection after a few weeks.
  • Progress the Difficulty of Exercise Selection.
  • Use Exercises That Incorporate The Entire Core.
  • Other Recourses
  • References

You don’t have to be an athlete to focus on your core stability, in fact, everyone should be focusing on it as a part of their physical health routine. Thats why we have created a list of the 10 core stability exercises you should add into your workouts.

Core exercises and stability are crucial aspects of any strength and conditioning programme as it lays a foundation of balance and structure that will allow the body to not only be loaded further in different movement patterns ,but also one which is healthy and can deal easily with day to day life.

Benefits of Core Stability Exercises

1. Everyday Health

The strength and stability of the muscles in the core are extremely beneficial for the most basic movements in your day to day life. This can often be taken for granted by those who have good movement abilities, but maintaining these abilities is crucial if you want to live a pain free active life. Core stabilisation exercises are also very effective at mitigating low back pain as they strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine.

2. Sports Performance

Having a strong core will be effective for almost any sport or physical activity you take part in, from tennis to hiking, having a strong and robust core will enhance your performance.

3. Injury Mitigation

Having a stable core can massively help with injury mitigation, as these muscles can be essential when preventing falls or other potentially dangerous situations, they are probably the most important group of muscles to focus on when trying to mitigate injury.

Increasing your core stabilisation using core stability exercise is an excellent way to prevent injury during athletic endeavours. A good core stability workout will be able to help with both balance and strength in athletic positions as the core muscles include the hip stabilisers and often stabiliser muscles for the knees. This specific muscle activation in invaluable for athletes looking to rehab or mitigate injury.

Sample Core Stability Workout

Complete 3 rounds

1. KB Suitcase Hold

Hold for 30 seconds

2. Pallof Press

Complete 8 repetitions

3. Plank

Hold for 30 seconds

How To Use Core Strengthening Exercises

1. In Full Body Resistance Training Sessions

Full body resistance training can be a great way to use strength and conditioning principles to improve your overall quality of life. It focuses on building strength in all the key movement patterns including the core muscles. Core training can be easily integrated into these training sessions.

2. As Stand Alone Session

Core stability workouts can be completed in isolation as seen in the example above. These are an excellent way to get a strong and stable core if you’re short on time but still want to make progress.

What is Core Stability?

Before we can define stability we need to define what the core is. “The core can be described as a muscular box with the abdominals in the front, paraspinals and gluteals in the back, the diaphragm as the roof, and the pelvic floor and hip girdle musculature as the bottom.”(1)

Within this box there are 29 pairs of muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis. Without these the spine would be very unstable during movement. The stability is dependant upon both the strength of the muscles and the sensory input that alerts the central nervous system.

Core Stability Training Principles

Start with Exercises for Your Ability.

It’s very important to make the correct exercise selection when developing core stability, if you pick exercises which are too challenging it will be hard to perform these to a high quality.

Let’s take an example of one person doing a long level plank (advanced individual) and someone doing a dead-bug (beginner). If the beginner were to do the long level plank they wouldn’t be able to maintain the correct position and the movement but if the advanced individual were to do the dead-bug, it wouldn’t create enough of a stimulus to create an adaptation.

Progress the Difficulty of The Exercise.

Using the same two examples of the dead-bug and the long lever plank, we can see how these can easily be made harder by increasing the time of the hold. Let’s have a look at how you might progress a core exercise over a three week period.

Week 1 - Long Level Plank 3 x 15”

Week 2 - Long Lever Plank 3 x 20”

Week 3 - Long Lever Plank 4 x 20”

For weight-bearing core movements this would be by either increasing the weight.

Change the exercise selection after a few weeks.

This will prevent training from getting too challenging but also keep training interesting through using a wide variety of exercises. Keeping training fun is crucial for consistency and if your consistent you’ll be able to drastically improve abdominal core stability.

Progress the Difficulty of Exercise Selection.

Once you’ve done an exercise for a while it would be a good idea to change the exercise to increase the difficulty again. For the dead-bug exercise you might want to move towards a dead-bugs with pause. and for the long lever plank you might switch to barbell rollout.

Use Exercises That Incorporate The Entire Core.

If we break the core into four categories of

  • Resisting Rotation / Rotation
  • Anti-Extension
  • Resisting Lateral Flexion
  • Lumbar Stability
  • When developing core stability it’s important to work all the elements of the core. If you’re working on these movements consistently you’ll be sure to develop a strong and robust core. If you use the 10 exercises outlines above using these principles then you’ll be able to create a strong and stable core.

    Other Recourses

    Please remember that all these recommendations are for healthy and fit individuals. If your looking to improve core stability after an injury make sure to consult a physio thearpist and focus on some of the movements discussed in this document from the NHS.

    References

  • Akuthota, V., Ferreiro, A., Moore, T. and Fredericson, M., 2008. Core Stability Exercise Principles.  Current Sports Medicine Reports , 7(1), pp.39-44.
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