Looking for the fast track your health and happiness? If only it was the easy! Though in a way it can be when you put the work in to ensure your core is in the best shape it can possible be. Your core is the deep group of muscles within your center that connects your spine to your pelvis. When these muscles are balanced and strong your overall health will improve tenfold, in so many areas. Think more stability, less likeliness of knee pain, better breathing, no more tension headaches and much more. By implementing safe and smart core exercises to rebalance your core you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also likely gain that sought-after six pack stomach as well— hello bonus!

Signs of an Imbalanced Core and How You Can Easily Check on Your Core’s Strength Level

Before employing core exercises into your routine, it’s good to get an understanding of an imbalance. You can be in the best shape of your life and still possibly have a core that is off kilter says Dr. Todd Sinett who has written a whole book about strengthening the core to conquer back pain. “Core imbalance can happen to top athletes as much as to a couch potatoes,” Dr. Sinett says. Lack of exercise is an obvious factor, but the wrong core exercise is also a big contributor to an imbalance (more on this later.) “Problems will arise when these muscles are not strong enough to do their job and firing at all cylinders— and not just back
problems. Core imbalance also greatly contributes to non-contact injuries,” Dr. Sinett says.

Below are a few health issues that can be related to an imbalanced core:

 Tightness in the chest
 Difficulty breathing
 Hip and knee issues

 Lower back pain
 TMJ problems
 Stiff neck
 Elbow, wrist or arm pain

Experiencing any one of these issues can certainly dampen your quality of life and if left untreated, can lead to more serious issues as time goes on. When seeing a doctor for a diagnosis ask them to look at your core. Dr Sinett also suggests this easy at-home exercise to test your core.


Turn your head to one side and see how far you can see.
Raise your arms above your head and turn your head to the same side again.
If you can see further with your arms above your head, you have core imbalance.
“Essentially, if your body functions better with your arm above your head, it means that your core is restricting its function, resulting in imbalance and, subsequently, pain,” Dr. Sinett says.


If you’ve just discovered your core is imbalanced you may have decided to start doing sit ups immediately however— do not do sit-ups or crunches! “Many people have been led to believe sit-ups or crunches are the way to build their cores, but the truth is sit-ups and crunches are physiologically reckless,” Dr. Sinett says. “These exercises create a shortening of our abdominals by causing too much forward pull, called flexion. It’s this pull that further builds upon the

Ahead are 7 safe and smart exercises that can help to rebalance the core (and yes, still get that sweet six pack!).

There are three variations of this pose, with increasing difficulty.

Begin with Variation 1, sitting with knees bent and feet down. Grab the back of your knees and hold for a count of 10.

Variation 2 allows you to release the hands from the back of the knees and extend your hands out in front of you.

For Variation 3, you’ll lift your feet off the ground and hold the knees or keep hands extended.

Lie flat on your back. Gently lift your legs and hips to the ceiling, then hold for two seconds and repeat 12 times.

Lying on your back, raise both legs up about 70 degrees and then slowly lower them down. Repeat this 10 times.

For a more isolated leg raise or to modify for your low back pain, place your buttocks on the Backbridge with your pelvis elevated, allowing for a greater range of motion. For a killer leg raise, try level 4 or 5. This will feel as if you are doing leg raises off the end of a bench, allowing a much greater range of motion and engagement of the abdominals.

Stand with your feet slightly separated and hands on your hips. Step one leg out in front and bend both knees as you sink into a nice lunge. Push off the front foot and come back to standing. Do 12 repetitions and then switch sides, so that the other leg steps out in front.

Lie on your back, bend your knees in the air, and then slowly ex- tend them out one at a time and repeat. You can do them a little quicker, just as if you are riding a bike. Never bring your head and neck off of the mat.

Start in a plank position. Bring one knee forward while holding the other in position and switch legs for 12 repetitions.

This exercise works the oblique muscles. Hold the plank and then twist your pelvis, so that one side contacts the floor, while the other side is elevated. Return to center and turn the other way.

Learn more about your core and why you should be avoiding crunches in Dr. Sinett’s book Sit-Ups Are Stupid and Crunches Are Crap.