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It is important to stretch your hips before core strength exercise. That is because hip flexibility may be even more important than back flexibility for preventing back injury.
Try this stretch after you exercise, courtesy of Prevention Magazine:
Take a giant step forward with your left leg until that knee is directly above that ankle. Drop your right knee toward the floor, and lower your hips toward the floor. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg.