Build a Stronger Core - Buffalo Rehab Group
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Build a Stronger Core

Nov 29, 2023 | Fitness & Wellness

You want a strong core but dread the thought of crunches or sit-ups.

Sound familiar?

What if we told you there’s a safer, more effective way to develop a strong and functional core?

This blog explores the benefits of crunchless core exercise and introduces you to three safe alternatives!

Before we dive into the world of crunchless core exercises, let’s briefly discuss why traditional crunches might not be the best choice for a strong core.

Crunches place excessive strain on the neck and spine.

When performing a crunch, pulling on your neck with your hands is common, leading to neck discomfort or pain. Additionally, repeatedly flexing the spine during crunches can increase the risk of spinal strain and discomfort in the lower back.

Additionally, crunches are frequently performed in high repetitions, which can lead to overuse injuries. Over time, the repetitive motion of crunches can strain the muscles, tendons, and ligaments involved, potentially causing discomfort or injury.

Instead of risking injury, try these core exercises:

Dead Bugs (Modified)

Dead bugs are a fantastic alternative to traditional crunches as they promote core stability and control without straining your neck or back.

To perform this modified version of a dead bug, lie on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

Slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg toward your chest while keeping your back flat against the ground.

Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Complete two or three sets of 10 repetitions per side.

Want more of a challenge? Instead of bringing your leg toward your chest, extend it so it goes in the opposite direction of your arm. Make sure to keep your back flat on the ground!

Side Bridges (Modified)

Side bridges are excellent for targeting the muscles along your sides, including the obliques. They also not only strengthen your core but improve your overall stability.

To perform a modified side bridge, lie on your side with your legs bent and stacked together. Prop yourself up on your elbow.

Lift your hips off the ground, engage your core, and hold the position for 2-3 seconds.

Complete two or three sets of 10 repetitions per side.

Want more of a challenge? Lie with your legs straight and stacked together instead of bending your knees.

Chop & Lifts

The chop and lift exercise adds a functional aspect to your core training. You can perform it with or without resistance.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bring your hands down to the outside of your thigh and pull them diagonally across your body, from low to high.

This movement mimics real-life activities and enhances your core’s ability to stabilize and generate force in different planes of motion.

Complete two or three sets of 10 repetitions per side.

Incorporate these exercises into your fitness routine but remember to start with proper form and progress gradually to prevent injury!

Consistency is key when it comes to building a strong core, so be patient with your progress.

Want to feel and move your best?

If you’re struggling with pain or injury and would like a personalized plan to feel and move your best, our Physical and Occupational Therapists can help.

Treatment is covered by insurance, no referral is needed to start, and with flexible virtual and in-clinic appointments available, you can find a time that works with your schedule.

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