Core Exercises to Prevent Injuries and aid in Recovery From Injury
No matter how careful you are, injuries can occur at work, in the car, or elsewhere. However, staying in physical shape and developing and maintaining core strength, in particular, can help avoid injuries as well as make recovery easier and quicker if you do become injured. Core muscles are a set of muscles that include
Which Muscles Make Up Your Core?
When most people think about core muscles, they only think of the abdominal muscles, commonly known as your “six-pack.” The abdominal muscles are part of your core muscles, but there are other muscles that make up your core. Your main core muscles include the following:
- Rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscles)
- Transverse abdominis (the lower abs)
- Inner and outer obliques (on your sides)
- Multifidus (deep muscles located in your lower back)
- Erector spinae (run along your spine)
- Diaphragm (located at the bottom of your ribs)
- Pelvic floor muscles (pelvic muscles that help control continence and play a role in pregnancy and birth for women)
The muscles in your back, chest, and glutes can also be considered part of your core muscles.
If your core muscles are weak, you are more likely to damage other soft tissue structures like ligaments, tendons, or spinal discs when you are injured at work or in a car accident. If you have strong core muscles and have an accident, a strong core can help prevent or minimize damage to these other soft tissue structures.
Core Strength Exercises
Below are a few core strengthening exercises that you can use both before and after an accident. If you do have an accident at work or an auto accident, your recovery time can be reduced if you already have a strong core.
- Put your forearms on the floor; your elbows should be directly under your shoulders with your hands facing forward with your forearms parallel and your upper arms parallel.
- Extend your legs straight out behind you with your toes on the floor supporting your legs. Your body should then be in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
- Do not drop your hips or push your butt up.
- Position your head and neck is in a neutral position, so you look down at your hands.
- Hold this position.
- Start in a side plank with your right hand on the floor and arm straight under your right shoulder
- Stagger your feet, so the left is right in front of the right, or stack your left foot on top of your right.
- Rest your left arm on your left side.
- Dip your hips down toward the ground, then back up.
- Repeat on both sides.
- Lie faceup with your legs extended and arms extended over your head close to your ears.
- Tighten your abs to push your lower back into the ground.
- Point your toes, squeeze your thighs together, squeeze your glutes, and lift your legs and upper back off the ground, reaching your hands up to meet your feet (your body will form a V shape)
- Slowly lower your arms and legs to the starting position flat on the floor.
- Lie faceup with your legs extended straight out
- Out your hands at your sides (palms down) or tucked underneath your hips if needed.
- Keep your legs together and straight, and slowly raise them until the bottom of your feet face the ceiling.
- Keep your legs together and straight and lower them down but stop a couple of inches from the floor.
- Make sure you keep your lower back flat on the floor throughout the movement.
- Start on your knees, and then put one leg a few feet in front with your foot flat on the floor (your knee will be bent at a 90-degree angle).
- Grasp a light dumbbell by both ends of the weight on the floor by the knee on the ground. This is the starting position.
- Bring the weight diagonally up toward the ceiling on the opposite side of your body, twisting your abs as you do.
- Keep your hips facing forward; your core muscles should be rotating, with your shoulders always facing straight ahead.
- Bring the weight back down your hip.
- Repeat, then switch to the other side.
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