I have a lot of favorite ab exercises, but one that doesn't get enough credit is the bear hold. I like the bear hold because it's easy to learn and it's great for lower core strength; it targets your transversus abdominis muscles (your deep core muscles that stabilize your spine and pelvis) and internal obliques (which help with side flexion and rotation).
Strengthening your lower abs will help stabilize your lumbar spine (your lower back where your spine curves in toward your abs), pelvis, and hips. As a result, a stable spine can improve your spine alignment and posture, movement patterns, and prevent or reduce pain in areas like the lower back, hips, knees, and ankles.
Whether you want to geek out on the science of why having strong abs is important or you just want stronger lower abs, this is a move I definitely recommend adding to your routine.
How to Do a Bear Hold
- Start in a quadruped position with your wrists directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips. Your core should be engaged and your spine should be in a neutral position.
- With control, lift your knees one inch off the ground. Be sure to keep your back flat and your abs engaged.
- Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.