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Core Progression...

Heyyoo! Happy #Thrivinthursdays everyone!

Last week we talked about crawling as one of the steps of a great core strengthening and coordination progression. This week, we figured we’d give you an overall look at an example of a whole progression, so you can jump in, take a step back or progress accordingly.

The idea is that you progress your core exercises from easy to hard. Genius, right? Actually, often times this can be hard to tell! So, a good rule of thumb is to progress yourself the same way a baby progresses itself. Like so:

The Progression:

  1. Supine (lying on your back)

  2. Side lying (lying on your side)

  3. Quadruped (on all fours)

  4. Sitting

  5. Standing

So cute, and so smart! 

We’ll give you an example of each to get the ball rollin’, but there are a bajillion options for each step! AND PLEASE use a little common sense. There are some KILLER core exercises that are done lying on your back that are WAY harder than some standing ones...don’t use those as a #1 in your progression, it just doesn’t make any sense! Refer to #3 of THE BASICS (below) if you run in to this problem.


  1. Turn your core on, before you turn your core on. That 1st core is your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor. Engage those before and during all exercises. Just because the exercise is “for your core”, your core may not always be doing the thing correctly. It’s what’s happening on the inside that counts, not how cool the exercise looks. 

  2. Really own your strength, control and coordination of each step before moving on to the next. Just because the exercise is “for your core”, does not mean it is for YOUR core at that moment. 

  3. Check yo’self out! Make sure your abdomen is not pooching outward and your spine remains in a neutral position (aka allowing a slight/natural arch in lower back. No need (in these particular exercises) to flatten or over extend your spine. If you’re good, you likely have your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor on engaged and you’re free to progress on!

  4. Do enough reps/sets/time to feel both physically and mentally connected. It doesn’t matter how many reps you do if your brain is not aware of what the heck your body is doing! Changes are made when BOTH brain and body are on board.

  5. Breathe! We understand it’s tough to do. This is where some of the coordination training comes in to play. 


  1. Supine: Marching- Engage and maintain core. Switch legs, marching, use core and glutes to keep pelvis stable.

  2. Sidelying: Unilateral bracing- Engage and maintain core. Use top knee and bottom hand to oppose pressure into each other. 

  3. Quadruped: Crawling (you learned this last week!). Engage and maintain core. Crawl forward with opposite hand and knee moving.

  4. Sitting: Frankenstein’s- Hinge a tiny bit from the hips to position your trunk over your pelvic floor. Engage and maintain core. Pull down on bands.

  5. Standing: Palloff Press- Engage and maintain core. Walk out to put tension on band. Press out keeping hands in line with sternum.

Click to watch the video below! Try ‘em out, see where you are in this progression and let us know if you have any questions!

Your Physical Therapists (AKA Doctors of Movement), Dr. Mallari-Snyder & Dr. Snyder

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