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Have you ever wondered if you were doing the best exercises to strengthen your core or just wasting your time and not getting the results you wanted or expected? Well, “wonder” no more… because we’ve got the secret.

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As many of you know, “bridging” exercises are great for recruiting the abdominal muscles and thus strengthening your core… but is one type of exercise better than the other(s)? A recent study by Czaprowski, Afeltowicz, Gębicka, Pawłowska, Kędra, Barrios, and Hadała, in Physical Therapy in Sport, 2014, shows evidence that there is.

Basically, the study measured abdominal muscle activity via EMG readings during bridge exercises on stable (BOSU) vs. unstable (Swiss ball) surfaces.  EMG activity was recorded on the rectus abdominis, internal/external obliques and transverse abdominis muscles during prone, side and supine plank/bridge.

Results showed that the greatest EMG activity was recorded in all abdominal muscles tested when doing the prone plank/bridge on the unstable surface. So if you want a stronger core, you better go out and purchase that Swiss ball… and begin with the prone plank exercise.