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Top 5 Core Exercises From Our Personal Trainers

Updated: May 4, 2023

A strong core is not just for aesthetics, a strong core also plays a crucial role in overall body strength, movement control, injury prevention, and progression in various compound exercises. Core training involves different types of movements that focus on anti-extension, anti-rotation, anti-lateral flexion, quadruped movements, and hip flexion with a neutral spine. In this article, we will delve deeper into the importance of core control and the benefits of different types of core exercises.

During our personal training sessions, we try and incorporate a lot of core engagement through every exercise but if you're wanting to solely focus on your core then give these exercises a go!

The Plank (Anti-extension):

  • The plank is an effective exercise for developing anti-extension core stability, which helps to prevent excessive arching of the lower back and promotes proper alignment of the spine.

  • A strong plank can enhance your ability to resist forces that try to bend your back, making it beneficial for overall body strength, posture, and injury prevention.

How to:

  • Begin by placing your hands on the ground, stacking your shoulders over your wrists.

  • Extend your legs outward, engage your core, and lift your body up into a high-plank position.

  • Hold for the required amount of time, and gradually increase the duration over time.

Portside plank exercise
Portside plank exercise

(Trainer tips: Keep your belly button drawn in towards your spine and keep your hips central and spine flat throughout.)

Deadbug (Anti-extension):

  • Deadbug exercise helps to train the core muscles to resist excessive extension and maintain a stable spine, which is essential for preventing lower back pain and improving movement control.

  • By engaging both the upper and lower body while keeping the core stable, deadbug exercise promotes coordination and stability in multiple planes of motion, making it a functional exercise for daily activities and sports.

How to:

  • Start by lying down on your back on an exercise or yoga mat with your knees bent.

  • Keeping the natural curvature of your spine, lift both legs up into a tabletop position with knees and hips at 90 degrees.

  • Raise your arms towards the ceiling while maintaining a neutral spine.

  • Extend your right leg forwards while simultaneously raising your left arm overhead in a controlled manner.

  • Return your arm and leg to the starting position, and then switch to repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Deadbug exercise

(Trainer tips: Keep your lower back flat on the ground and keep your core braced to avoid your pelvis rolling forward)

Side Plank (Anti-lateral flexion):

  • Side plank is a valuable exercise for targeting the lateral core muscles and promoting anti-lateral flexion stability, which helps to prevent excessive bending or collapsing of the spine to the side.

  • It can help to improve lateral stability, balance, and functional performance, particularly in activities that involve side-to-side movements or require stability in a single limb, such as running or playing sports.

How to:

  • Engage your abdominal muscles, drawing your navel towards your spine.

  • Lift your hips and knees from the mat while exhaling, maintaining a straight torso with no sagging or bending.

  • Hold the position for several breaths, aiming to hold for 60 seconds.

  • Inhale and return to the starting position, then switch sides and repeat.

Side Plank Exercise
Slide Plank

(Trainer tips: Try to keep your chest open without rotating forward, keep your hips high and glutes engaged)

Bird Dog (Quadruped):

  • Bird Dog exercise is effective for training core stability in an all-fours position, which mimics the quadruped position used in many functional activities.

  • It helps to improve coordination, balance, and stability in the core, hips, and shoulders, making it a valuable exercise for overall movement quality and injury prevention.

How to:

  • Begin on your hands and knees in a quadruped position.

  • Point one arm straight in front of you while extending the opposite leg behind you, forming a straight line from your extended hand to your extended foot.

  • Keep your hips squared to the ground and minimize any extra motion in your hips during the weight shift.

  • Hold for a few seconds, then return to your hands and knees.

  • Switch to the other side and aim to complete five reps on each side or 10 reps in total.

(Trainer tips: Keep your back flat throughout, core braced with belly button pulled in and glutes switched on.)

Pallof Press (Anti-rotation):

  • Pallof Press is a powerful anti-rotation exercise that challenges the core muscles to resist rotational forces, promoting stability and control of the spine.

  • It helps to improve core stability in rotational movements, which is essential for sports and exercises that involve twisting and rotating, such as golf or tennis, and can also benefit daily activities that require lifting and carrying.

How to:

  • Anchor a resistance band at chest height and grab the opposite end of it in both hands.

  • Stand sideways to the anchor with a solid base.

  • Slowly extend your arms straight out in front of you, hold for a count, and then bring your hands back to your chest.

  • Avoid letting your torso twist toward the anchor.

  • Repeat all reps, then switch sides.

Pullof Press
Pullof Press

(Trainer tips: Start by pressing the weight slowly so you can adjust to the weight as you increase the tension through the core)


Incorporating these top 5 core exercises into your training program can help improve your core control, overall body strength, movement quality, and injury prevention. It's important to progress gradually and use proper form during these exercises to maximize their benefits. Remember to consult with one of our personal trainers before starting any new exercises, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or injuries. Keep challenging yourself and enjoy the benefits of a strong and functional core!

Book in with one of our trainers in our Hove studio- just click the link below:

You can find us on the Hove end of Shoreham Port- our address is Unit 13 Hove Enterprise Centre, Basin Road North, Brighton & Hove, BN411UY

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