Does your core strength pass the test?

Have you ever thought about how your core strength affects your posture? A strong core helps to protect our spine and plays an important role in our ability to stay balanced. Find out the answer to ‘does your core strength pass the test?’

Signs of a weak core:

When our core is weak it can contribute to a postural distortion commonly known as ‘sway back’. To see if you have this sway back posture, look out and see if your:

  • Bottom sticks outs
  • Tummy protrudes
  • Hamstrings are tight (even after stretching)

How does a weak core cause low back pain:

A weak core and this sway back posture over a long period of time contribute to low back issues. A weakened core poor posture puts excess load on our low back making muscles and joints work harder than normal.  Over time the muscles and joints in the low back begin to fatigue and our body will alert us to this process by signalling pain.

Other reasons causing low back pain.

A weakened core certainly isn’t the only reason people experience lower back pain. Gaining core strength is a big part of building strength in the spine and a great place to start if you are looking to improve your spinal health. Other lifestyle factors are:

  • sitting too much
  • poor nutrition
  • overuse of phone and computer devices
  • lack of exercise
  • poor sleep
  • increased levels of stress

Where to start:

If you have been experiencing low back pain and stiffness you may want to assess your core strength. Before beginning the assessment, make sure you have warmed up and be sure to stop the assessment if you find these positions aggravate your low back symptoms.


  1. Position elbows on the floor directly under shoulder, arms parallel to your body shoulder width apart
  2. Push up from your elbows
  3. Squeeze your gluteal muscles and pull your belly button in towards your spine to engage your core
  4. Aim to hold this position for 90 seconds 
  5. Remember if you start to lose your form stop the plank and record your time so you can work on improving it. It’s more important to hold this position in good form for a shorter amount of time than holding for a longer time in poor form that could injury your body.

Side plank

  1. Start on your side with feet either stacked or slightly staggered
  2. Position your wrist directly under your shoulders
  3. Push up from your wrist
  4. Squeeze your gluteal muscles and pull your belly button in towards your spine to engage your core
  5. Ensure your body is in a nice straight line, not letting your hips drop or lifting your hips up too high
  6. Aim to hold this position for 60 seconds, however, remember it’s more important to go at your own pace and take note of how long you can maintain this position for in good form and work on improving your time

Bird dog

  1. Start on your hands and knees
  2. Create a brace in your core muscles, pulling your belly button into your spine and activating your core muscles
  3. Squeeze your glute muscles as you lift and straighten one leg and slowly lift the opposite hand to a horizontal position
  4. Aim to hold this position for 3 seconds and gently lower your arm and leg
  5. Repeat this on the other side
  6. Aim to perform 10 repetitions on each side

Lisa Smycz, chiropractor 

If you would like to know more about what ideal posture looks like, then CLICK HERE.  To find out if you can pass the sit to stand test CLICK HERE.

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