Core Exercises – Phase 1

by Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. on May 12, 2012

Several posts ago I gave you instructions on how to start activating/engaging the core muscles.  If you have been doing that daily you should be ready for the strengthening exercises.  There are two exercises in Phase 1.

Phase 1 includes the heel slide and the knee lift.  You will be on your back for these exercises with your knees bent and feet on the floor.  Start by tightening your core ( pull up the pelvic floor and tighten your belly to your spine).  Keep these muscles contracted and at the same time slide one heel down the floor to straighten your leg.  Pay attention to your back.  If your back starts to come off the floor that means your core gave out and you brought your leg out too far.  If you have a very weak core like I did when I started I was only able to move my heel down a couple of inches before my core gave out.  Stop where that happens and bring your leg back up and relax your core.

I tell my patients that you and your core have to become one with each other.  When you do these exercises you have to have your full attention on the muscles. Don’t be reading, watching TV or just not paying attention as you will never get these strong.  These muscles need your undivided attention.  They are extremely high maintenance muscles.

Back to the heel slide – tighten the core, slide your heel down, keep your core tight and bring your heel back up.  Do not let go of the contraction.  When I do these exercises with patients I have my hand on their belly and their back and I notice when they slide the heel out they keep a contraction but when they bring the heel out they let go.  DO NOT LET GO.  These are the simplest, hardest exercises you will do.  If you have a very weak core do 1 heal slide then relax.  If you have a bit of a core you can do 3 heel slides.  As you get stronger you can do 5-10 on each side.  It is not how many you can do it is how many you can do correctly.

Knee ups – you are still on your back with knees bent.  Tighten your core and hold now bring one knee up and down.  It is a small movement, don’t bring your knee all the way to your chest, keep it at 90 degrees.  Do a couple of these then relax.  Do the other side.

I tell my patients to do these exercises for a minute a day.  It isn’t a minute without stopping, it is a minute total.  Remember you will do 2-3 then relax, 2-3 on the other side and relax, etc.  Some days I do only a minute and others I do 5 minutes.  Consistency is the key.  When my back was bad I did these exercises every day for 1 1/2 years, without fail.  Now I do them 3-4 times per week.


Happy Exercising!

Dr. Wendy

Sonya Lenzo May 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

I see that you are doing these excercises on a rubbermat floor.All of my floors are tile. Should I use a blanket or quilt? By the way …I am so happy that you are starting with such basic exercises for those of us who are old and decripit!!!!These I can do!
Sonya Lenzo

Bryan May 12, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I will try mine today and let you know how it goes.

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Suzanne Laramore May 12, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Those exercises look like they will really tighten the core. I had to laugh at the high maintenance muscles comment! It’s true.

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Michael D Walker May 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Your timing couldn’t be more perfect for me. These core exercises are exactly what I need as I’m coming back from two surgeries last month wherein they had to cut through my abdominal muscles.

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Kevin Hogan May 12, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Thanks for the exercises, Wendy!

Mark Hogan

Lyle R. Johnson: The Sales Wizard & Mentor May 12, 2012 at 8:42 PM

You say currently you do the core exercises 3 to 4 times a week. So every other day is a viable schedule?

Lyle R. Johnson

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Annie Born May 13, 2012 at 3:24 AM

Thank you Dr Wendy to do the exercises for 1 minute sounds easier.
Looking forward to tomorrow!
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Covert Hypnosis: Where Is The Rest Of The Pool? May 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I watched on my TV and did the exercise with you. Big thanks.

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Dan May 13, 2012 at 1:16 PM

it’s not how many you do it’s how many you can do correctly should be written on the wall of every fitness club on the planet

Lyle R. Johnson: The Sales Wizard & Mentor May 13, 2012 at 4:03 PM

I did a few … core is okay, it seems, as there way minimum pain in doing the exercise.

Lyle R. Johnson

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Body language of successful women May 13, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Dr Wendy thank you for the video on how to stretch the right way.
Scott Sylvan Bell
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Now go implement!

Richard de Laat May 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Love this one – will take this on immediately.

Peter Tamosaitis May 14, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Glad to see you promoting exercises for the very important core. The beauty of these is that they can be done anywhere, anytime and without equipment….so no excused you guys.

Memorias USB Peru May 15, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Dr. Wendy
Simple yet effective exercise. Thanks
Memorias Pendrive

Cherie Miranda May 15, 2012 at 5:05 PM

You are fortunate to have such a wonderful mother. And it’s wonderful that you took the time to write about her. :)

Cherie Miranda
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