The muscles in your back, hips, abdomen and pelvic floor — known as your core muscles — connect your upper and lower body. "These muscles work as a unit to stabilize the body and spine, and they provide a foundation for the movement of the rest of your body," says Kathy Weber, MD, a sports medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center.
Weber suggests the following exercises to strengthen your core connection:
Planks. Lie on your stomach. Rest your upper body on both elbows and tighten your abdominal and back muscles. Raise your hips and knees. Hold for 10 seconds; then slowly lower yourself. Work toward holding the plank for a full minute three times.
Bridges. Lie on your back with bent knees and arms at your sides, palms down. Keep your abdominal and buttocks muscles tight as you slowly raise your hips. Hold for 10 seconds and then slowly lower your hips. Work toward 30 bridges in three sets of 10.
Bridges with a stability ball. Lie in the bridge position, but rest your heels on a stability ball. Keep your stomach and buttocks muscles tight as you lift your hips into the air. Hold for 10 seconds, and slowly return to the floor. Work toward three sets of 10.
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