What is the CORE and how to strengthen it?

The CORE has become one of the fashionable terms in the world of sports. However, although many people talk about and even do CORE exercises, they really do not know what it is or what it is for.

Those of us who are in the world of sports usually see how, from time to time, new terms appear, called to revolutionize or change the way we train and exercise. One of the latest terms to arrive is the CORE, which has become a vital element for all types of athletes. So that you are clear about what this part of our body consists of, how to strengthen the CORE and what are the basic exercises for it, we leave you all the information you need to know.

What is CORE

Before talking about CORE training, it is essential to know what we are talking about. The English term CORE translates into Spanish as nucleus. A definition that fits quite well in what this part of the body is. 

It is located in the lumbo-pelvic region of our body and contains different muscles, such as the buttocks, the abdominal muscles, some areas of the abdomen or the back erector, among others. All these muscles have a fundamental role in enjoying greater resistance and capacity when training.

The other key aspect of CORE is its ability to prevent possible injuries. We are talking about injuries to the trunk, but also to the extremities. A well-trained CORE reduces discomfort and facilitates more precise work on the legs and arms, as well as strengthening the core. Ideal therefore to also reduce overloads and be more productive when doing your workouts.

CORE exercises for beginners

When it comes to CORE work, it is important to take into account the global nature of this region, which goes beyond specific muscle groups. And although it is true that exercises such as pilates for abdominals, squats or exercises aimed at strengthening the back muscles can be useful, they are useless if you do not perform a comprehensive training of all the areas covered by the CORE. For this reason, these basic exercises have a comprehensive approach to the development of your muscles.


Planks, whether normal or side planks, are one of the most recommended exercises to strengthen the CORE. To execute a plank, it is enough to maintain a raised position on the ground, supporting the weight on the shoulders and the balls of the feet. If it is a side plank, then the support is executed on the elbow and the lateral part of the leg. 

Although it seems like a simple exercise, holding the pose for 30 seconds is quite complicated. Therefore, if you are a beginner, you can start for about 10 or 15 seconds, evaluate your level and adjust the time to what you are enduring. As you improve your strength, you can increase the times of the plank.

bird dog

This exercise is similar to a plank and consists of the extension of one leg and the arm on the opposite side, while the hand and the other leg serve to maintain balance. This exercise works the entire CORE, but the transversus abdominis muscle does so with special intensity, due to the union between extension on one side and stability on the other side.

For the exercise to be efficient, it is key to maintain stability and tension at all times, as well as to achieve the maximum possible extension of the extremities. It is recommended to perform about 16 repetitions per side, although as always everything is adjustable to what you need.


Another floor exercise that helps develop CORE is bridges. With them we can strengthen the hip and lower back comfortably. In this exercise, the arms are fully supported, as well as one of the legs. The other leg is raised along with the back, maintaining the posture and squeezing the abdominals and glutes. Again, maintaining tension is the key to success. It is recommended to perform about 3 series of 15 repetitions each, although as always you can start for less, if it is difficult for you.


The last exercise that we are going to discuss is the bicycle-type crunches or abdominals. Although it is not listed among the core exercises itself, the truth is that it is ideal for strengthening the lower part of the CORE in particular and the entire area in general.

The idea is easy. Lying on our backs we will “pedal” in the air, extending and bending our legs one after the other. At the same time, we support the head with our arms, ensuring that the elbow of one arm touches the knee of the opposite. Again, maintaining the position is key for the exercise to be successful. Its duration depends on your physical capacity.

final tips

The exercises that we have discussed are the basis of CORE and, as such, may have some difficulty at first. If your fitness is low, feel free to cut back on times or reps until you get stronger. What is key is to maintain the correct postures and notice the muscular tension, but without rebounding.

Another key element is the base of the exercise. This must be adequate, so it is recommended to use padded mats and other elements that separate you from the ground and do not affect the support areas. As an extreme case, you can use anti- decubitus mattresses to train, since their air chamber allows each part of the body to have the necessary pressure.

Finally, as you train, you may want to add some weight to some exercises. To do this, it is enough to resort to an ankle or wrist weight, which add extra effort in exercises that involve the extremities.

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