To correctly stiffen your core muscles, think about tightening the muscles around your waist as you imagine taking a punch to your abdomen. Breathe into your tummy and out from there, continuously. Ensure your low back remains in a neutral position - no increased curve or flat back. For most individuals the lumbar spine needs stability endurance rather than strength. Instead of holding positions too long, work at more reps.


Begin on hands and knees. Tighten your core and breathe properly as described above in blue box. Press palms firmly into floor and maintain. Slide each leg back. Press heels away and squeeze buttocks. Try to keep your low back curve neutral.  Avoid tummy sagging. Hold for up to 60 seconds.

Bridge Series

Before hip lifting, press heels FIRMLY down into floor each time. Begin each lift without rocking your pelvis.  Visualize lifting hips up NOT pushing ribs or tummy up.  Hold this for up to 10 seconds. Lower using your hips.  

  • Do 10 times

    Progression:  knee lift With hips up, press one heel FIRMLY down into floor. Then lift the other knee toward you WITHOUT pelvis rocking. Hold 2-5 seconds and return foot down.  Repeat on the other side with a firm heel press.  Work up to 10 knee lifts per side. Try this without your arms on the floor!

Modification:  elbows assisted 1. To control pelvis and reduce low back strain, bend elbows at sides and press them FIRMLY into floor before each knee lift (along with firm heel press). 2. Visualize and focus lifting from hips without pressing up ribs or tummy. Reduce lift height if low back pain increases at top of lift.

Side Plank

Begin sitting on floor on left hip and left elbow. Top foot in front of other foot (not as image shows).  Tighten your core and breathe properly as described above in blue box. Lift hip off floor and straighten legs. Press heels FIRMLY away and elbow FIRMLY down. Try to keep your low back in neutral. Avoid pelvis sagging toward floor.  Hold for up to 30 seconds.

Modification:  Both knees bent, knees and feet stacked. Repeat as above.



Bird Dog

On all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips.   Low back should be in neutral position.  Tighten your core and breathe properly as described above in blue box.  Move SLOWLY with balance and control of form.  Raise right arm and leg leg – PRESS left palm FIRMLY down. Hold for 5 – 7 seconds.  Then sweep the floor, bringing arm and leg inward and outward.  Repeat 5 times.            Switch sides. 

Modification: leg lift only Press both palms FIRMLY into floor first. Press one heel FIRMLY back to straighten and lift leg.
Hold 5 – 7 seconds, work up to 10 times continuously on one side.

Mountain Climber

Begin in the basic plank position with palms pressing firmly. Tighten your core and breathe properly as descibed above in blue box.  Before lifting right knee forward, FIRMLY press and hold left heel back.  Hold 1 second Repeat on the other leg.  Work up to 10 times per leg. 

Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis Exercises

Foam Rolling

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