5 Core Strength Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Core Strength


These days the term “core strength” is so common it’s almost become a generic term for a type of strength or fitness that involves getting strong, toned and hard abs.

Whilst the abdominal muscles are definitely involved in core strength, there are loads of other muscles that are included in the true definition of what “the core” is.

Core strength involves ALL the muscles that stabilise the spine, pelvis, hip and shoulder joints. That’s a lot of muscles!

And it’s not just strength that is required, it’s coordination between all the muscles so they can work in synergy and produce high quality, functional movement.

The pilates method of exercise was developed as a full body, balanced training method that gives equal attention to all the muscles in the body…not just the abs.

So, when you start a core strength training program, make sure it’s balanced and isn’t just a “six pack” ab training program.  


The breathing muscles are very much a part of core strength and have a major role in mobility, posture and effective abdominal strength.

To get the full benefit of any exercise requires the coordination of the breathing muscles with the targeted muscles of the exercise.

This creates solid stability of the spine and pelvis enabling a more effective movement with the additional benefit of developing great posture at the same time.

Most people don’t use the breathing muscles effectively in exercises because it’s challenging to understand how to consciously use these muscles.

But once you do learn to use them…it’s a game changer!  


If the definition of core strength is the coordination and strength of all the muscles of the spine, pelvis, shoulders and hips, then the position of these structures will impact the quality of any core strength exercise.

Posture is how you hold your body. This can either be dynamic as you move through daily activities including exercise, or static when you are not moving your body in activities like sitting, standing or even sleeping.

Posture that is weak, imbalanced and misaligned can potentially lead to extra stress and strain being placed on the joints and spine during core strength exercises.

Any core strength exercise or program should enhance and support all the structures in the body, leaving you with an uplifted, balanced feeling and not contribute to any aches, pains or tension, or create an injury or issue.

And it should contribute to developing great, balanced and aligned posture! 


It is very challenging to perform any core strength exercise with a tight and stiff spine.

Remember that the core involves the spine, pelvis, shoulders and hips and if any of these structures are stiff and tight, movement capability will be restricted and compromised.

Great flexibility and mobility doesn’t “just happen”, it requires constant and consistent effort on a daily basis. How much effort will be dependent on how much natural flexibility and mobility you have and the type of daily activities you do.

For example, if you sit at a desk all day, maintaining flexibility will require daily stretching.

Stretching is not only beneficial for core strength, but also releases any built up stress and tension in muscles and also your mind.

Daily stretching is another game changer!


Core strength is like any other fitness activity.

To get the best results possible, you need a structured and progressive program over an extended period of time with measurable outcomes.

Once the goals of the program have been achieved, then a new program with new goals should be implemented.

Any fitness program needs a minimum six weeks for the body to start to adapt and change to the training.

Failing to follow a structured program is one of the main reasons people don’t “stick to” exercise programs, including core strength training.

And yes, you can access unlimited information on core strength exercises and even online programs, but this will never compare to an expert meeting you in person, performing an individual assessment and designing an individual and personalised program.

The original pilates method has been around for over 100 years, well before the term “core strength” existed.

There is still no other exercise method that can develop core strength, flexibility, posture, joint integrity and most importantly spine health all at once.

Here at Pilates Plus we teach the original pilates method. Why? It’s pretty simple really. It works and gets results!       

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