Everybody wants to exercise to strengthen their core, but realize when they go to bed at night that they didn’t get around to it. Some people throw in a few intense sit-up sessions randomly through the month and others give up because planks and sit-ups hurt their back.
One of the most effective and easy to do exercises is what I call the abdominal wall exercise. All you need is a flat surface to lean against. Walk your feet two foot lengths away from the wall or pillar and lean against it such that your tailbone, middle back and back of head touch the wall. Relax your body and focus on breathing into your back so that the lower rib cage moves. Slowly push the bottom of your tailbone back into the wall as if you were trying to arch your lower back. BUT, don’t actually let your back arch by tightening your stomach muscles. If you feel tightening up your back, you have pushed too hard or not tightened your stomach muscles enough. KEEP BREATHING, WITH RIB CAGE MOVING. Hold for 5 breaths and relax for one. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
You should feel your lower stomach muscles more than your upper. It is important that there is no tightening up the back or back pain. If there is you are pushing your tailbone back too hard and your back muscles are much stronger than your stomach muscles. Done correctly, you will have about 2 hours of increased core muscle activity even without thinking about it! So all you need to do is activate approximately every 2 hours through the course of your day starting first thing in the morning, perhaps while brushing your teeth. Once you get good at this you will be able to do it without the wall and can tighten your muscles even while walking down the stable aisle or sitting on your horse.