What is “core strength”? I have been hearing a lot about increasing your core strength to help alleviate back pain. I haven’t exercised in years and am beginning to notice that I have a lot of back pain after sitting at my desk all day. How do I strengthen my core?

Simply put, your “core” is the group of muscles that include your low back and abdominals. Many people confuse “core strength” with abdominal strength and that is only one piece of the puzzle. To effectively strengthen your core, you must include a variety of exercises that challenge your low back extensors (i.e. back extension over a physioball), your abdominals (i.e. crunches on the ball), your obliques (i.e. standing cable rotation) as well as the deep abdominal muscles (prone hover – similar to a push up, but contacting the floor with your elbows and toes.) Since many people tend to only work on their abdominals, it is important to create a balance of exercises that work both your abdominals and your low back.

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