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Strengthening your core: Right and wrong ways to do lunges, squats, and planks

March 2, 2020
  • By Harvard Health Publishing Staff, Harvard Health

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Harvard Health Publishing Staff, Harvard Health

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January 22, 2012

Very informative and illustrative. Thanks very
much for your contribution in this.

Lora Jones
January 20, 2012

Very nice blog, this mean I don’t have to go to any
sporting goods stores to buy some equipment in sport.

January 20, 2012

Wow, thank you very much, I’m looking for sports equipment, best sports books I could use for my daily exercise schedule and this blog of yours really help.

I would recommend this to my colleagues

Roger Yap
January 20, 2012

Excellent blog, by the way do you have available sports books, perhaps you could compile these exercises and for sure this is going to be the best sports books.

Vahid Bahavari
January 18, 2012

Many thanks for your post. Many celebrities are big fans of elliptical trainers. Jennifer Aniston swears by her elliptical trainer. She uses an elliptical trainer for 20 minutes every day.

January 11, 2012

I liked the exercise #2 to do so i felt a great relief in my back, thank you for these exercises, worked for me.

January 11, 2012

These are good techniques of maintaining physique of your body. Thank you.

January 4, 2012

Excellent to address to a big problem. Much more needed on proper alignment and integrating strength trajectories naturally. My criticism is that even the “good” postures aren’t good enough especially in the squat & lunge. The head and neck alignment is too tense and by activating so many unnecessary muscles in the upper body it takes effectiveness away from the central stabilizing muscles. Traditional Chinese martial arts like Tai Chi have focused on the center (tan tien) as being the sources of natural and efficient use of strength and avoiding injury. Although much caution is needed for the general population to progress very slowly with knee bending. Good Tai Chi focuses on balance, healthy aging, relaxation therapy and the appropriate intensity of exercise for the individuals personal needs.

Sean Gunner
January 4, 2012

Excellent post, thanks. I agree with all you say – a strong core is the basis of everything! One way to achieve that, in addition to benefiting from cardio training, is to use an elliptical trainer. An elliptical takes the strain off the joints whilst exercising both the upper and lower body and ensuring good posture. There are dozens of excellent elliptical trainers on the market by top brands such as Sole and Nautilus.

p90x mc2?
December 29, 2011

Thanks for this post.The information here is excellent and the pictures are very helpful!

December 27, 2011

I’ve always been TERRIBLE at doing squats and that’s probably why I never want to do them when I work out. Thanks for the info on proper form. I’ll try to start applying this when I’m in the gym.

Chaz Tower
December 19, 2011

This is a very helpful post. I will share these ideas with my readers on my blog. I am sure they will appreciate the tips. Thanks.

December 19, 2011

Great post many thanks for sharing this with us. The illustrations have been helpful and I’ve printed them for future referance. Many thanks

December 12, 2011

The contents of this site is wonderful, where you can find your favorite and you want.

life fitness x5 elliptical trainer
December 11, 2011

As a Yoga teacher and ex-actor (I broke my back on stage Before I studied for my Yoga teacher training) core strenght and balance have always been an issue for me. These exercises you’re showing are almost exactly the same as those we do in our daily yoga practice which is over 1,000 years old.

The photographs you’ve provided could be more accurate.

In all three shots they should have the tailbone tucked in to lessen the lowerback compression. This is exceptionally important… In the third shot the guy is compressing at the top of his spine by tilting back the head. These will cause problems by damaging the discs of the spine and possibly cause extra wear and tear to the spine. Posture is everything.

November 29, 2011

The biggest mistake I see moms making is believing they can neglect core exercises and just do cardio. This blows that assumption out of the water.

November 29, 2011

Thank you for this fantastic information. My bootcamp clients need constant education on why ab exercises is one of the worst ways to strengthen the core, and your informative report breaks down those barriers.

November 27, 2011

The abdominal muscle is the place where you want to shed the fat and build muscle. It is extremely hard to do and requires a little hard work.

November 26, 2011

The squat is a great exercise for total body fitness but if done improperly, which so many do, it can lead to many problems with knees, and your back.

November 25, 2011

I’m not sure about your argument. I have a poor forehand but very good core body strength! I do my home workouts and also go to the gym, play tennis, do yoga and pretty much take care of myself well. But I still can’t hit a good forehand to save my life. perhaps it’s technique that’s letting me down because it’s not my workouts at home that’s for sure!

November 17, 2011

Thanks for this post.The information you have provided is excellent and pictures you have have provided is amazing!

Michelle DeMarco
November 3, 2011

Awesome example of these important exercises. If you have a strong core, your performance will be better in any sport you are involved in!
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Marc Azada
October 28, 2011

Awesome tips about exercise. Thanks for sharing tips on how to strengthen core. I’ll definitely add your tips on my next workout. Thanks a lot!

Manage Your Weight
October 25, 2011

Motivational weight loss quotes can actually inspire you to stay on your diet for a longer period of time–and isn’t that what it’s all about – finding something to help you stick with it until the job is finished?

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas Edison

October 22, 2011

Very useful and informative site, but some commentators controversial statements. However, the information is very useful for readers post. Your blog is great for anyone who wants to understand this subject more. The amount of information in here is stunning. Thank you.

Work hard to gain your own salvation. Buddha

October 22, 2011

Great article. Another core exercise I’ve learned is having a newborn baby…and bending over 10 to 12 times a day changing a diaper. Oh man! It’s a good/bad workout on the core.

October 15, 2011

Workout is beneficial if you do it in the right way. Therefore I always listen to professional workout trainer’s suggestion before trying on various exercises. If it is not convenient to find trainer some of the best workout dvds are also helpful, since they summarize the main points on how to improve your health and fitness level.

October 2, 2011

The picture for squats isn’t 100 percent correct because it doesn’t show that you should break the parallel when squatting. And breaking parallel is when your Quads are parallel to the ground not hamstrings! That helps to develop your leg muscles evenly and better…

I suggest reading a book like Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe where he talks about how to perform exercises correctly and gives a great routine to workout.
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September 23, 2011

I guess finding useful, reibllae information on the internet isn’t hopeless after all.

Alex Miller
August 24, 2011

I believe that keeping a neutral or arched back is the key to never getting a back injury–and also not twisting the torso when picking up something. It is possible to get a back injury even when you have a strong core. I know because that was what happened to me some while back. My stomach muscles were like steel in that I was able to do about 70 situps in a minute. I was in a job in which I lifted a heavy back of garbage with bad form and then sprained my back. The spasms kept me from walking for days. Develop a strong core and use perfect form (arched back) when lifting. That is the most important thing.
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August 18, 2011

Awesome blog! I love how you show both the correct form as well as the incorrect form. I find it very difficult to teach some people how to really get a good [URL removed by moderator] Core Workout. THANKS!

Sergio Cruz
August 9, 2011

Basic but good Annmarie Dadoly.

My belly button has a little hernia that will be operated this week.

Doctor says no exercise for a month! I think a little exercise will be fine.

What do you say? 🙂


golf practice net
July 25, 2011

Core exercises are fantastic for anyone looking to rebuild their strength following injury or illness.

Glendale Physical Therapy
July 13, 2011

You are correct about core exercises about playing a role in rehab. At our physical therapy clinic, Pilates is use to help strengthen the core and teach proper form for exercising.

Phoenix Physical Therapy
July 13, 2011

In agreement with the previous comments about the benefits of this posts in helping to avoid injury. One of the keys of core exercises to perform them correctly is to keep the spine in alignment.

Phoenix Pilates
July 13, 2011

Thanks for this post. We see so many injuries from people who try to workout and get in shape, but are doing it all wrong. Ultimately, that only leads to giving up on their fitness goals.

July 1, 2011

Form is vital to injury prevention, many of the sports injuries we see are precursor-ed by bad form during exercise.

Sheila Ber
June 29, 2011

Exellent information and clear great pictures to demonstrate.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

You might also be interested in…

Core Exercises: 6 workouts to tighten your abs, strengthen your back, and improve balance

Want to bring more power to athletic pursuits? Build up your balance and stability? Or are you simply hoping to make everyday acts like bending, turning, and reaching easier? A strong, flexible core underpins all these goals. Core muscles need to be strong, yet flexible, and core fitness, like that found in the Special Health Report Core Exercises: 6 workouts to tighten your abs, strengthen your back, and improve balance, should be part of every exercise program.

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