The Powerhouse: Exercises for Core Stability

Everybody wants 6-pack abs, but your “core” is made up of more than just your abdominal muscles. The core is composed of your abdominals, obliques, low back stabilizers, and gluteals. We have composed some of our favorite core exercises, including information on which muscles they target. At Sarrica Physical Therapy & Wellness, we use these exercises in order to treat low back pain, hip pain, knee pain, foot and ankle pain, foot instability, running and sports injuries. These exercises can also be used as part of a comprehensive strength and conditioning program. So, whether you’re rehabbing an injury, or looking to avoid one, these are some staples in our clinic:

  1. Pallof Press:

This exercise is an anti-rotation activity that focuses on recruiting the oblique muscles.


2. Heel Taps:

This exercise focuses on lumbopelvic stability while alternating legs. The added band provides an additional anti-extension challenge.



3. Reverse Lunge to Runner’s Pose:

This exercise targets the quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors. Works on single leg dynamic stability, and is a great drill for running athletes.



4. Deadbug:

Several variations of the deadbug are shown in the video below. This is a great exercise to work on low back pain and lumbopelvic control.



5. Birddog:

This is a progression of the deadbug exercise. Again, great for lumbopelvic stability, core control, and treating low back injuries.


6. Plank:

The classic plank exercise is great for abdominal control, but there are many common mistakes made when trying to perform it. Make sure your body is neutral, don’t allow your buttocks to sink down towards the ground. Do not stick your buttocks up too high in the air either. Below are also some challenging variations involving leg movements



7. Stir the Pot & Body Saw:

This is an advanced exercise that targets the abdominals. I would only advance to these once your have mastered the plank variations. Great late stage low back pain exercise.



8. Side Planks:

Side planks are great for training the obliques. Below are demonstrations of the standard side plank, as well as several challenging variations.



9. Kettlebell Deadlift:

The deadlift is a great low back, glute, and hamstring exercise. It is a vital movement pattern for anybody who wants to gain core strength and improve performance.



10. Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlift:

This is an advanced version of the double-legged deadlift. Progress to this once you have mastered the standard deadlift variations. This exercise focuses on the unilateral hamstring and glute, as well as dynamic single leg stability.

These exercises can be made easier or more challenging based on the patients needs throughout the course of treatment. If you experience pain during any of these movements, please stop and consult your physical therapist.

If you would like to be seen for a physical therapy consultation, please contact us at (347) 560-6920. We would be happy to evaluate some of your movement patterns and help you stay/become healthy!

Paul Nasri, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Staff Physical Therapist
Sarrica Physical Therapy & Wellness