These exercises help strengthen your core. Your "core" is the muscles around your mid-section that act like a girdle when they are strong and engaged. Unlike a six-pack, these are the deeper muscles of your torso. It is important to work these muscles to help you improve your posture and balance. Many people have back problems because of a weak core but if you strengthen it, your back issues should lessen. When your posture is at its best, people will think you have lost weight when you have only finally begun to follow mom's advice and started to stand up taller.

The exercises are listed in order of difficulty.

  • Lay on your back with a neutral spine drawing your belly towards your spine
  • Place your feet on the floor with your knees bent
  • Cross arms across chest or place your fingertips behind your head keeping your elbows out to the sides
  • Contract your abdominals as you roll your spine off the floor one vertebrate at a time until your shoulder blades are off the
floor.

Side-to-side Drop targets your oblique's – muscles that give you a waist.
  • While keeping your shoulders on the floor, pull in your abdominals
  • Slowly drop stacked knees to the side as far as you can without lifting the opposite shoulder.
Kneeling Arm & Leg Reach – works core stability – good for strengthening your back.
  • Place hands under shoulders and knees under hips
  • Place back in neutral spine (allows natural curves of back) and tighten your abs.
  • Extend spine from the crown of your head to your tail bone. (Eyes down)
  • Slide shoulder blades down your back
  • Extend your right arm and left leg out long (Think Pointer Dog)
  • Be sure to keep hips and shoulders parallel to the ground
  • Perform exercise slowly and with control
  • Increase difficulty – take arms out to 45° and then bring elbow to knee
Criss Cross – a Pilates exercise that targets the oblique's.
  • Lay on your back with a neutral spine drawing your belly towards your spine
  • Place your fingertips behind your head keeping your elbows out to the sides
  • Place your knees above your hips and shins parallel to the floor
  • Extend left leg out long as you rotate your torso towards your right knee
  • Return to center then extend right leg as you rotate towards the left knee.
  • Do not pull with your arms – make your abs work!
Abdominal Twist – increase difficulty by increasing weight.
  • Sit on the floor with your back flat and at a 45° angle.
  • Slowly twist your torso from side to side.
  • Add a weight or medicine ball to increase difficulty
Elbow Plank – a great all-around exercise to strengthen your whole core – abdominals, back
  • Place your elbows directly below your shoulders.
  • On your knees (or toes), lift your body up into a bridge.
  • Tighten your abdominals as if you were trying to snap your pants.
  • Maintain a flat line from your shoulders to your knees (heels).
  • Do not lift your hips or back sag.
  • Hold for 10 seconds at first