Accredited Exercise Physiologist - Sophie Pacek

Sophie Pacek

Exercise Physiologist, Healthy Connections

Today’s blog continues on from last week on the ‘Core’, a group of muscles responsible for providing central support, strength and stability. Let’s have a quick recap:

Without further ado, let’s get onto some core and ab exercises!

Core activation

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, a delayed core activation during loaded activity is associated with chronic low back pain (Marshall & Murphy, 2010). Think of activation exercises as a warm-up for specific muscles – they are about waking up the sleepy muscles before trying to strengthen them. Therefore, activation-type exercises are typically performed before strength-type activities.

Core activation can be performed seated upright or lying down. If you are new to this movement, I would suggest lying down if possible because it is easier to physically feel the activation.

Locating the TA

Activating the TA

Progressing TA activation

Once you have practiced the TA activation above, it is time to incorporate some peripheral movement to further challenge core stability and make the training more functional (i.e. you will need to have core strength when standing, moving, lifting, twisting etc. rather than just sitting or lying down). If you are new to core activation, it is handy to locate your TA and monitor that it is switched on when performing these movements.

You should feel these exercises through your tummy area and sides. If you start to experience any pain in your back, please stop the exercise and take a rest – it’s your body’s way of saying ‘that exercise is too hard at the moment’ or ‘I am getting tired, let’s take a break’. Listen to your body and choose exercises that are appropriate for you. Core activation is tricky – if you are unsure on whether you are performing it correctly, please seek individual advice from one of the exercise physiologists at Healthy Connections.

Abdominal strength exercises

The exercises mentioned above will also be working your other abdominal muscles, but here are a few others that you can add to your ab routine. Please note that if you experience back pain, please seek individual exercise advice before attempting.




Bicycle crunch

Bird dog

Side plank

Side crunch

I hope you enjoy this core activation and ab strengthening routine – it is a quick, no-equipment way of incorporating some activity into your day to improve your stability, central strength and support.

Until next week, stay safe, wash your hands and keep moving (and activating your core)!