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6 Key Exercises: Why Workouts Should Start with Stabilization & Core

Stabilization is the ability of the body to maintain postural equilibrium and support joints during movement. Or maintain correct posture during movements.

That’s why NASM-certified 15-year personal trainer Susan Zettell starts all of her clients with stabilization & core exercises.

“When you train with controlled, unstable exercises, you can increase the body’s ability to stabilize or balance itself.”


The benefits of starting with stabilization are significant with exercises serving as a sort of protective body armor. “Muscle Imbalance leads to poor posture leads to improper movement leads to injury. The first step in training would be to increase muscular endurance and stability to prevent injury, which will teach and allow proper body alignment and performance,” says Zettell.

Postural imbalances are often a function of sedentary lifestyles, and flexibility training helps correct those imbalances.

“The first step I teach clients in corrective flexibility is self-myofascial release (foam roll) and static stretching. This type of stretching will improve muscle imbalances and enhance flexibility,” says Zettell.

1) Self Myofascial Release – How to Do It

Self-myofascial release is when a person uses the foam roller to find a tender spot on the muscle and sustains pressure for a minimum of 20 to 30 seconds. This can be used both before and after a workout.

2) Static Stretching – How to Do It

Static stretching is taking the muscle to the point of tension and holding for a minimum of 20 to 30 seconds. This can also be used both before and after the workout.


“The core is where the body’s center of gravity is located and where all movement begins,” Zettell says. “Think of your core as the foundation of the house. If that is weak, basically your house would crumble. A weak core causes inefficient movement and will lead to injury and/or low back pain.” Here are some exercises to strengthen your core.

Core Exercises – How to Do It 

1)Drawing-In Maneuver. The movement here is pulling in the area just below the navel towards the spine. Keep the cervical spine in neural position (do not protrude your head forward), and place hands behind your head to support (not to push down).

2)Marching. This basic exercise helps to stabilize the core. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat and arms by side. Draw the navel in and lift one foot as high as can be controlled, hold 2 seconds, slowly lower and repeat. Make sure the area below the navel stays drawn in during the entire exercise.

3)Floor Bridge. For the two-leg floor bridge, you’ll lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat and arms at your sides with palms down. Draw the navel in, activate the gluteus, lift the pelvis off the floor until the knees, hips and shoulders are in line. Slowly lower one vertebra at a time and repeat.

4)Plank. Lie face down on the floor with feet together and forearms on the ground. Draw abs in, activate the gluteus and lift the body off the ground until it forms a straight line from head to toe, resting on forearms and toes. Hold 1 to 2 seconds and slowly lower your back to the ground, and repeat. If this is too difficult to perform, some regressions are to perform this in a standard push-up position, or with your knees on the ground.


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