Before you know where to start in terms of strengthening your core you are wise to do an abdominal strength test:Active Straight Leg Raise Test
These core strength tests, unlike a lot of strength tests you see on the internet, do not involve sit ups or crunches. Sit ups, after all are not terribly functional. Rather, we need to determine if you are able to maintain a stable core or neutral position as limb movement takes place. Life is full of situations where we move our limbs, sometimes under load, sometimes during sports, but even just during daily activities. Opening heavy doors, getting in and out of a car. All these activities require a stable trunk to allow movement and leverage of our arms and legs. If we don't have that stability in our core, the joints in our spine can undergo excessive shearing forces leaving us vulnerable to arthritis, disc damage, strains and sprains.
We use these tests in the clinic. For someone with an underlying back or pelvic problem the active straight leg raise test will often cause pain. If you find you have pain or score a 5 on the ASLR test you may want to get some assistance from a personal trainer or mention it to your physical therapist.
Using abdominal crunches to determine abdominal strength has its place in some circles, but I've seen weightlifters with amazing rectus and obliques that still have outrageously weak spines.
use the active straight leg raise test (ASLR) as an abdominal strength
test to give you an idea where to start. While lying on your back put
your hand behind your lower back. Try to raise your right leg up 20 cm
off the floor without bending your knee. As you raise your leg you
should not feel your lower back arch up off the floor. Score your
ability as follows:
0 = no difficulty at
1 = minimal difficulty
2 = somewhat difficult
3 = fairly difficult
4 = very difficult
5 = unable to do
Repeat this exercise with your left leg.
a look at your time for this abdominal strength test. Some people can
only hold this position for 5 seconds. If you are one of them you need
to start exercise ball exercises cautiously and be extra careful that
you can maintain neutral position throughout the exercises. You have
very weak stabilizers.
Try the plank as an exercise to fatigue daily to improve core stability and eventually your time will improve.
If you are able to hold this for a full 30-60 seconds before technical failure you are off to a good start.
Find your neutral position
Some floor exercises you should master