What is the Core?

  • The core is a collection of muscles that help move and stabilize the spine and pelvis.
  • It is truly the bridge between the upper & lower body.
  • The term ‘core’ refers to the muscles at the deepest layer to the spine and pelvic floor. Muscle like transverse abdominus, diaphragm, perineal’ s, oblique’s and a few other make up the core.
  • Recently the fitness buzzword is “the core”. In fact, the core is much more than having a six-pack. It’s time to understand the misconceptions about core training and core muscles. The six pack is not your core. That is rectus abdominus one of the more superficial muscles of the core. The muscles mentioned above truly surround the bodies center of gravity. The core muscles are like a box with the center of gravity inside. Each side of the box are specific muscles.
  • Rigorous sets of sit-ups and leg raise will only tighten hip flexors and minimally strengthen your core. It is also imperative to understand that almost every movement or exercise involves some of the core muscles. In reaching, sitting to standing, squat, shoulder press and a deadlift.

Role of a physical trainer or physical therapist

  • Training your core need not be complicated, but it does have to be complete.
  • The PT or Exercise scientist can develop an exercise prescription targeting your core.
  • Sprinkling core exercise into every workout will only enhance lower back stability and posture.
  • There are many exercises that strengthen the core muscles but planks in all directions are a great. Maintaining one position or performing an isometric hold is an ideal way to start. Try holding the bridge and plank positions for time is the goal. Start with 10 seconds and work up to 3 minutes. Let’s discuss a few other exercises that build insane core strength!


plank exercise

  • The plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core because it builds isometric strength to help tighten your waistline and improve your posture.Get down on the floor on all 4’s. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Straighten your legs out behind to as if you were doing a push up. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can. Your goal should be to hold it for two minutes.
  • Try this on each side as it helps rotational stability a bit more.
  • Now lie on your back, bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Now lift your hips and pelvis into the bridge. Now lift one leg and straighten out in front of you. Don’t forget to do the other leg. Maintain this for up to 2 min as well.

Bird Dog

This is a powerful exercise that improves the core stability. This exercise works stability in two planes of motion and stabilizes rotation as well as forward / Backward motion. These exercise also help support the most proximal muscles of the limb adding to stability and coordination.

  • Start kneeling and place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  • Pull your abs into your spine.
  • Keep your back and pelvis still and stable.
  • Slowly lift your right arm forward and left leg back. Focus on the rib cage and don’t allow to sag toward the floor.
  • Reach through your left heel to engage the muscles in the back of the leg and your butt.
  • Return to the starting position, placing your hand and knee on the floor. Repeat on the other side to complete one cycle.
  • Certain twisting crunches, Russian twists and superman’s were used for a long time to train the core muscle but if not trained properly, those types of exercises may do more damage to the spine.
  • Anti-rotation exercises prevent your spine from rotation or twisting, which is important for your lower back. Single leg deadlifts, single leg squats, and single leg lunges are great anti-rotational exercise.

Single leg deadlift

  • Stand straight, push your heel back and up toward the ceiling.
  • Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in one hand, hanging to the side.
  • Make the right knee slightly bent, perform a stiff-legged deadlift by bending at the hip, Extend your left leg behind you for balance.
  • Continue lowering the kettlebell or dumbbell near to the ground, and then return to the upright position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Circle Plank

Image of woman doing circle plank

Plank exercises are termed as the best core exercises, it is the simplest movement with the greatest gain. It builds isometric strength and helps to sculpt your waistline and improves your posture.


  • Start in a plank position with abs tight.
  • Now pull right knee in and circle it clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • Keep the rest of your body stationary.
  • Repeat the procedure in the left knee also.
  • Repeat five times, then switch legs.

About Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue Physical Therapy and Wellness was created at the onset of the new millennium in order to bridge the gap between strength and conditioning and rehabilitation. We have 2 clinics in New York (Grand Central & The Hamptons) and provide care to everyone at a level that Olympic athletes receive. The services we offer are physical therapyacupuncture, yoga, massage and more.

If you’re looking to build yourself up as an athlete, why not take personal training from us? Where better to train than a place that has built up professional athletes to the highest degree.

Contact Us

If you’re in pain and need help or looking for a service we can provide for you and you’re in New York, then please contact us on 212-529-5700. Or you can fill in your details on our contact page and we will get back to you.