5 signs of a weak core (and how to fix it)

5 signs of a weak core (and how to fix it)

by Eunice Chua 10 Feb 2020

Our core muscles might just be the most underestimated muscle in our body. The exact musculature involved are actually much larger than we expect, stretching from our ribs to our hips and from the front of our belly to our back. The wide extent of our core makes it a whole system of interconnected muscles that work together to support our spine and pelvis, basically making it the backbone of our muscular system. This is why core strength is considered such an important part of any athletic endeavour. If you identify with any of the following 5 signs, then it might be time to start strengthening your core.


Sign 1: Poor sitting posture

Observe your resting posture when you’re sitting down. Do you tend to hunch over your desk? Poor posture is a sign that you have a weak core that is having difficulty supporting your body in an upright position.

Fixing the problem:

Be conscious of your sitting position. Try to maintain an upright sitting position with your stomach in and shoulders back – visualise keeping the top of your head, shoulders and hips aligned with each other. Keeping the posture is definitely challenging if you're not used to it, but you can get these habits to stick by consciously adopting this position during fixed intervals in time (e.g. every 15 minutes).


Sign 2: Poor walking posture

A weak core can be reflected in the arch of your back when you’re walking. Get someone to observe your walking posture and note whether your lower back arch is more pronounced than usual. A pronounced arch is a sign that your hips and glutes are working harder to compensate for the weak core, and a collapsed arch may be indicative of tight hamstrings and a weak lower back. In the long run, this can lead to pain in your legs, hips and back.

Fixing the problem:

Ensure that your hips are aligned in the same plane as your shoulders when you are walking. It may be hard at first, but strengthening your core with pelvic tilts, leg extensions and glute bridges will make it easier eventually.


Sign 3: Need for support when getting up or standing

If you find yourself using a nearby chair or wall for support when doing simple everyday actions like getting up from a chair or standing in line while waiting for something, it may be due to your core not being strong enough. 

Fixing the problem:

There’s a simple way around this – stop relying on the objects and surfaces around you as a clutch. Make the conscious decision to get up and remain standing without external support. This will force your core to strengthen itself.


Sign 4: Regular backaches

Remember how the core extends to your back? When you have a weak core, the other non-core muscles around your spine have to work harder and this puts them under more strain, resulting in frequent backaches.

Fixing the problem:

Focus on exercises that help to build spinal strength – one way is through the reverse bridge exercise where you lie down with your feet flat on the ground and use your back muscles to lift your hips off the ground. Another favourite which also allows for progressive overload is the glute-ham raise.


Sign 5: Lack of strength to throw objects or jump

If you indulge in other sport activities like ball games or lifting weights at the gym, try to notice how you feel when you’re throwing, jumping or lifting. A weak core can make you feel like you are lacking in strength, even though you may have strong arm or leg muscles. This is because the core is connected to all the other muscles and help to stabilise them.

Fixing the problem:

Implement compound strength-training exercises into your workout routine. These exercises build both your arm/leg muscles and your core at the same time. Some examples include squats, push-ups and lunges. Finishing your workout with some dedicated core exercises like planks or ab rollouts also helps to aid in development


The core is so aptly named because it’s the central pillar of your entire muscular system. Without sufficient core strength, it would be difficult to perform even the most basic of movements, much less those more athletic in nature. Whether you’re an aspiring athlete or not, having a stronger core will only serve to benefit you in both health and performance.