When training my clients, I start to build stability first before increasing exercise intensity. The first goal of stability training is to develop endurance in your core muscles, along with the strength to resist forces that threaten to pull your spine and pelvis out of that neutral zone.1
Since our core is used throughout the training session, I prefer to start off the workout with core specific exercises. This way the muscles are prime and ready to work, versus tired at the end of the workout.
It will not take long to build up a baseline of core strength and endurance with planks, and side planks. However, if you are just starting out here is a demo by my colleague and Bellies Inc. co-founder, Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, on three progressive plank moves you should consider:
Level 1: Crouching Tiger (A)
Level 2: Plank from Knees (B)
Level 3: Plank (C)
Watch Samantha's video on how to do these moves correctly.
And here are three progressive levels of the side plank. Once you can hold each move for 30 seconds, you can progress to the next level.
Level 1: Side Plank from Knee to Forearm
Level 2: Side Plank from Feet to Forearm
Level 3: Side Plank from Feet to Hand
By progressing through these moves 3 to 4 times a week, pretty soon you will be able to advance to higher level core exercises! Conditioning your core safely and correctly, creates stability including balance, coordination and fatigue resistance, through your entire training session.
1 The New Rules of Lifting Supercharged, Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove