10 Simple Exercises to Strengthen Your Core Using a Foam Roller

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You’ve noticed that your back has been aching lately and well, to be perfectly honest, your stomach seems to be pooching out more, too.

You haven’t gained any weight but your pants fit differently than they used to. They feel snugger around the middle.

On your way to work, you walk past a department store and notice your reflection in the window.

What a slouch!

You immediately stand up taller and suck in your gut.

However, in a few minutes, you’re kind of embarrassed to admit that you’re back to slouching again.

Maintaining good posture for more than a couple of minutes is harder than you’d like it to be. Your back and stomach muscles feel a bit wobbly.

Whoops.

Maybe it’s time to work on the muscles around your middle.

If only there were some easy exercises that you could do at home, didn’t take too long, and gave you satisfying results.

Luckily, there are!

What Are Your Core Muscles and Why Do They Matter?

Your core muscles are the muscles in your abdomen, back, and pelvic floor. These muscles work together to support your trunk.

You use your core muscles every day — getting up out of a chair, bending over to tie your shoes, lifting a bag of groceries, or taking a walk.

If you are an athlete, you engage your core when you run, ski, or swim.

A strong core lets you perform your every day activities pain free and prevents you from getting injured.

Ready to buff up your core so you not only look great but feel strong and confident as well?

Follow These Simple Exercises for a Superwoman Core

To begin, you’ll need a 36" foam roller and a soft place such as a yoga mat or carpet to do the exercises. From experience, I can tell you that tottering off the foam roller onto a cushy surface feels much better than rolling off onto a hardwood floor!

If you haven’t worked on your core in a while, then begin by performing each of the exercises one time.

Do one set of all 10 exercises three times a week. For example, you might want to work your core on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

And if that feels like too much, don’t worry! Just work your core two days a week and gradually move up to three days a week. Steady progress is always the best.

As you get stronger, you can vary your routine —

  • increase the number of sets you do each workout
  • increase the number of reps you do for each exercise
  • set a timer and do as many core exercises as you can in five minutes

Your ultimate goal is to able to do 10 minutes of core exercises three times a week.

Ready to get strong?

1. Basic Position

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Basic Position
  • Lie on the foam roller so your head and butt are supported.
  • Bend your knees and place your feet even with your hips.
  • Put your arms out to your side with your hands, palms up, near your bottom.
  • Keep your spine in a neutral position. Don’t press it into to roller.

In this position, activate your core muscles by —

  • doing a kegel (squeeze your vagina in and pull it up. Imagine your vagina trying to suck a tampon into your stomach).
  • tightening your stomach muscles (pretend to draw your hip bones together while you are zipping up a pair of very tight pants).

Activate your core for as long as you are physically able to. In the beginning, it might only be for a few seconds. (Umm, ask me how I know.)

Your goal is to be able to activate your core for a count of 10.

2. Clap

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Clap
  • Start in the basic position.
  • Reach both hands over your head and clap them together.
  • Lower hands back into the basic position.

3. Reach Up

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Reach Up
  • Start in the basic position.
  • Reach one arm straight up towards the ceiling.
  • Keep that arm straight while using your shoulder muscles to lower that arm a couple of inches. Remember to keep your arm straight as you lower it.
  • Return your arm and hand back into the basic position.
  • Repeat exercise with your other arm.

4. Heel Lift

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Heel Lift
  • Start in the basic position.
  • Raise one heel off the floor for a count of three and then lower it.
  • Repeat exercise with your other heel.

5. March

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March
  • Start in the basic position.
  • Alternate between lifting your right and left heels off the ground so it feels like you are marching in place. March for at least five seconds.

6. Leg Kick

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Leg Kick
  • Start in the basic position.
  • Kick one leg straight out in front of you and hold it steady for a count of three.
  • Repeat exercise with your other leg.

7. Leg Kick With Opposite Arm Raise

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Leg Kick With Opposite Arm Raise
  • Begin in the basic position.
  • Kick one leg straight out in front of you while simultaneously raising the opposite arm straight back over your head.

8. Heel Lift With No Arm Support

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Heel Lift With No Arm Support
  • Start in the basic position.
  • Cross your arms over your chest.
  • Raise one heel off the floor for a count of three and then lower it.
  • Repeat exercise with your other heel.

9. March With No Arm Support

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March With No Arm Support
  • Start in the basic position.
  • Cross your arms over your chest.
  • Alternate between lifting your right and left heels off the ground so it feels like you are marching in place. March for at least five seconds.

10. Leg Kick With No Arm Support

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Leg Kick With No Arm Support
  • Begin in the basic position.
  • Cross your arms over your chest.
  • Kick one leg straight out in front of you and hold it steady for a count of three.
  • Repeat exercise with other leg.

Why Instability Is A Good Thing

These simple exercises really work your core!

Whenever your body is on an unstable surface like a foam roller, you automatically engage your core by trying to keep your balance.

That’s why these exercises are so effective.

Give them a try!

You’ll be thrilled with the results.

Get Ready to Be a Core Boss

Imagine looking fabulous with your toned tummy.

Your pants are easier to zip and button. The waistband no longer feels tight.

Your lower back never nags at you.

When you catch a reflection of yourself in window, you notice how tall you stand.

You thank your strong abs.

You thank your strong back.

But most of all, you thank yourself for taking charge of your body and becoming powerful.

Yes, you!

Dana is a writer, teacher, and content developer.

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