Core stabilization exercises include any exercise performed in an unstable environment. Performing typical strength training exercises in an unstable environment will give you a stronger core, which will make you stronger overall.
You can create an unstable environment by standing on one leg, sitting or lying on a stability ball, stepping up on a bench, or standing on something, like a towel. For example, instead of performing a regular standing bicep curl, try doing it standing on only one leg.
Stabilization exercises encourage core strength as your abdominals and lower back are forced to engage during the exercise. Core strength is essential to help reduce the risk of injury. Strong, stable core muscles may also reduce the size of your waist overtime, as well as improve posture. In some instances, this helps decrease back pain.
Here are examples of good strength training exercises and how to perform them in an unstable environment. Do two to three sets of 15 to 20 reps of each exercise (start out slowly and work your way up):
Overhead Press: Stand on one leg, or use both legs and stand on a rolled up towel or on a bosu ball (the half stability ball with a flat bottom). Use either dumbbells or a barbell to perform. Hold the weights at the top of the chest, hands positioned above each shoulder with an overhand grip. Extend arms up until they are straight, lifting the weights above the head. Return to starting position. Really brace your abs as you lift and lower the weights. That's one rep; repeat.
Tricep Push Down: Also do this standing on one leg, or using both legs and standing on a rolled up towel or a bosu ball. This requires using a tricep push down machine (a horizontal bar attached to a cable). Start with lighter weights. Face the machine, grab the bar with both hands in an overhand grip, shoulder width apart. Pull the bar to your chest level-this is starting position. Keep your elbows tucked closely to the body at both sides as you pull the bar all the way down, straightening out your arms. Return up to starting position, keeping your elbows close to your sides. That's one rep; repeat. Remember to keep your chest pointed out and shoulders back, with your abdominals braced throughout the exercise.
Chest Press: This is like doing a bench press, but with dumbbells. Lie face up on a stability ball, with your head, neck and shoulders being fully supported on the ball and your hips fully lifted and in line with your head, with your feet directly under your knees. You will be in "table" position--your feet and the stability ball will support you and hold you up. In this position, hold a weight in each hand, resting above each shoulder, palms facing down. Then contract your chest muscles and slowly straighten your arms to extend the weights above your chest. When lowering the dumbbells back to your shoulders, lead with your elbows, which you should bend outward, so that your arms form a 90-degree angle with your body. Lower until dumbbells are level with your chest. That's one rep; repeat.