Your Minimum Core Requirements For Safe and Effective Exercise

It’s no secret that lots of people get hurt by exercising with poor form.  And that almost always means that they are lacking core stability.

BUT, this does not mean you should automatically start doing crunches and planks.  It’s much more about “re-awakening” the same movement and stability you developed from the time you were born to the time you were four years old.

That’s why I’ve made it my mission with my free training and through the more comprehensive training and coaching inside the Core Wellness Institute to teach people about how to re-connect with the deep core stability system they were born with through awareness and connection of the “Back Support Zone”. (See photo below)

back support zone awareness

But a common question I get, like the one I got from Edie recently, is

“Dr. Steve, after a few days of trying I still can’t connect the bottom of my ribs to the floor without pushing hard. As soon as my feet leave the floor while trying to do baby back, all my weight drops straight to my pelvis. So my question is, how can I do the exercises if I can’t even support my body correctly? I am curious since you said that imperfect form shouldn’t be tolerated.”

So in today’s episode of Core Wellness TV, I talk about the minimum core awareness you must have before you embark on an exercise program.  

And no…you do not have to be able to move like a 6 month old (although it’s a worthy goal!)…you only have to be able to create some pressure in your abdominal cavity (Intra-Abdominal Pressure or IAP).

But video does so much better than words to explain this.  So here’s today’s episode of Core Wellness TV!

Leave your questions and comments below.  I see them all and respond to as many as possible!



  1. Can I do all of this with 2 hips that need to be replaced? I am only 46 and sitting at a desk with hips that do not stabilize me has caused many knee, back, neck and shoulder issues. Really not sure where to start as I amtight in my hip flexor, arms, back, shoulders and have lost my glut and core activation.

  2. I realize you perhaps cannot respond to this specifically. While push/pull mowing steep, rough area I developed a muscle spasm about two ribs up on my back (intercostal muscle or diaphram connection, not sure?) so that bending or twisting will trigger a sharp-pain spasm making breathing difficult momentarily. After 3 days it is beginning to subside. General question for benefit of all: (assuming it is a spasm and not something else) should a muscle spasm be rested until gone, or is it ok to use it or “stretch” it out? This particular “spasm” is not aggravated by baby back or plank. Thanks for any thoughts.

    • Hey Rob, muscle spasms can come from all sorts of different causes so I can’t say whether to definitively move it or rest it, sorry.

      Makes sense to avoid any movement that recreates the symptom. As long as symptoms are not progressively getting worse…watchful waiting also makes sense.

      Get evaluated for rib and spinal dysfunction by a good chiro soon.

  3. A couple months ago lying flat on my back left a high arch between my back and the floor. Now without noticing lying down there is no longer space to slide my pinky through. This baby back exercise was a core portion of that. Mobility has increased, for the first time in a number of years sprinting is a joy! Initially when the get to your core information was brought to my attention, via Youtube, it was a huge effort to focus on core moves. Now motions come much more smoothly.

    Dr. Steve thanks very deeply for your teachings.


    • I see that you replied in the comments on several of the self videos, Eugene. I will send you an email with a link to the fundamentals series again.

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