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What are some exercises for building core strength?

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Quick Answer

Exercises that help build core strength include plank, bridge and abdominal crunches, according to Mayo Clinic. The core muscles include abdominal, back and pelvic muscles, and a strong core helps performance in many physical activities. People should focus on breathing deeply and contracting the transversus abdominis while performing repetitions. Beginners should start with five repetitions and gradually build up to 10 to 15. People with osteoporosis or back problems should consult a doctor before performing core exercises.

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Full Answer

Abdominal crunches are performed with the back flat on the floor and knees and hips at a 90-degree angle, explains Mayo Clinic. Crossing the arms over the chest prevents neck strain as the abs contract and the head and shoulders raise off the floor. A person holds the contraction for three deep breaths before returning to the starting position.

To perform a bridge exercise, a person starts with the back flat on the floor and legs bent, feet on the ground, states Mayo Clinic. The back remains in a neutral position but not arched as the hips raise off the floor to align with the knees and shoulders. Individuals hold the position for three breaths.

There are several plank variations, including using the knees, elevating a limb or holding the position elevated on the side, notes Mayo Clinic. The modified plank starts by lying on the stomach and raising up to rest on the forearms and knees. The head and neck align with the back, and the shoulders are positioned directly above the elbows. The abdominal muscles should tighten for three deep breaths. For a more challenging exercise, a person can raise an arm or leg during the repetition.

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