Core Strengthening Exercises
When most people think about core strength, they think about an abdominal six-pack. While it looks good, this toned outer layer of abdominal musculature is not the same as a strong core. It requires some hard work. You will have to follow my guide on workouts for core strength and build a strong core.
What is Core Strength?
A strong core is an invaluable asset. For starters, a strong and stable midsection can give you better balance and better posture and it can even help reduce back pain. Every move you make both in daily life and during workouts for core strength will be easier if your core is showing up and doing its job. It is really the center of all your movement.
The core is a group of muscles that stabilizes and control the pelvis and spine and therefore influence the legs and upper body. Core strength is less about power and more about the subtleties of being able to maintain the body in ideal postures.
Why it’s important?
For the average person, this helps them maintain the ability to get on and off the floor to play with their children or grandchildren, stand up from a chair, sit comfortably at a desk or vacuum, and rake without pain. For athletes, it promotes a more efficient movement, thus preventing injury and improving performance. Having a strong or stable core can often prevent overuse injuries and can help boost resiliency and ease of rehab from acute injury. The core also includes the pelvic floor musculature and maintaining core stability can help treat and prevent certain types of incontinence.
The problem with a weak core
As we age, we develop degenerative changes, very often in the spine. The structures of the bones and cartilage are subject to wear and tear. Very often we are able to completely control and eliminate symptoms with the appropriate core exercises. Having strong and stable postural muscles helps suspend the bones and other structures, allowing them to move better.
Scoliosis, a curving or rotation of the spine can also often be controlled with the correct postural exercises. Having an imbalanced core can lead to problems up and down the body. Knee pain is often caused by insufficient pelvic stabilization. Some runners develop neck and back pain when running because the “shock absorbers” in their core could use some work.
Workouts for Core Strength
Core exercises like deadlifts and squats don’t work your midsection at all but core engagement is crucial to do them properly which can be called sneaky core moves.
When it comes down to it, there are a million ways to work your core. So how can you decide what’s best? Or just where to even start?
These are some exercises that increase your core strength.
Holding the plank position takes strength and endurance in your abs, back, and core. The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning but it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance. In addition, there are many progressions that can be done from a standard plank hold.
2) Butterfly Sit-up:
Putting your legs in the butterfly position eliminates the option to use the hip flexors basically forcing good form. It is also easily modifiable in both directions so it is perfect for group training sessions.
3) Dead Bug:
This is great for connecting your mind and to your core. It is an all-encompassing abs exercise and you are not going to feel a burning sensation but that is not always better. This sort of connector is just as important for creating that deep core muscle strength.
4) Hollow Body Rock:
The hollow body rock works basically the entire core including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. It is easy to progress and teaches how to create tension through the whole body and has a high carryover to other exercises like push-ups and pull-ups in terms of abs engagement so you; earn to better engage your abs in all the exercises you do.
This is an isometric hold in the most intense part of a sit-up. It is also a safe position because your tailbone is tucked and your spine is lengthened instead of compressed.
A DIET FOR CORE STRENGTH
Eat more veggies, nuts and fruits, organic lean protein, and healthy fats such as olive oil, fish oils, and avocados. Try eating several small meals each day and avoid late-night snacking. Eat some protein for breakfast, lots of veggies, fruits, and fiber and drink water than calorie-laden beverages.
Finding the right core strengthening workout for you
A good core program relies less on mindless repetition of exercise and focuses more on awareness. People with good core strength learn to identify and activate the muscles needed to accomplish the task. Learning to activate the core requires concentration and leads to being more in tune with the body.
There is no method of core strengthening that works for everyone. Some people do well with classes. Others use yoga to discover where their core is. Physical therapists are excellent resources as they can provide one-on-one instruction and find a method that works for any person with any background t any ability level.
It sometimes takes patience for people to find their core but once they do, it can be engaged and activated during any activity including walking, driving, and sitting. While building the core starts with awareness and control, athletes can further challenge their stability with more complex movements that can be guided by athletic trainers and other fitness specialists.
Daily practice of core engagement can lead to healthier movement patterns that allow for increased mobility and independence throughout the course of our lives.