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I cannot stress enough the importance of a strong core. Your core is basically everything apart from arms and legs, so it really is the tree trunk supporting all the branches.

A strong core will help you in everyday life, improve your posture, and also reduce injuries in other parts of your body, such as hamstrings and back. The core consists of a huge amount of muscles, so there are a million exercises that you can do to strengthen up. Here are some of my favourite.

Prone Back Lifts.

A really simple exercise is to lie on your front with arms straight out in front of you and legs straight out behind. Engage your back muscles to lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor, and squeeze your bum to lift your legs up behind you. Keep arms and legs straight and hold for 10 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds then lift again and hold. Next time you come up to hold, swim with your arms and legs, keeping them straight and paddle up and down with them.

Toe Taps.

Turn on to your back, bend your legs and lift up to tabletop position (knees bent at ninety degrees so your feet are level with your knees. Slowly tap one foot on the floor in front of you, bring it back up to the top, then repeat with the other leg. Alternate x 10 on each leg.

Cycling Claps.

Sit up, engage core and lift feet off floor. Straighten one leg out in front, and clap behind the other bent knee. Alternate sides in a cycling motion x 20 in total. If your core is weak, you can place your hands on the mat behind you to support yourself, and just cycle the legs.

Front Plank.

A really good exercise for the core is the plank. Basically lift off the ground face down on your elbows and feet, keeping your legs and back in a straight line. Keep breathing and hold for 30 seconds. Don’t let your back dip, squeeze your glutes, and breathe.

For more core exercises and videos see my website WWW.CHLOEBOWLER.COM