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GOT STRONG CORE?

Did you know if you have weak core muscles it can lead to fatigue, low endurance, and cause injuries to your back? It’s true. Weak core muscles can contribute to poor posture, lower back pain, and other muscle injuries. Strengthening your core will help prevent these types of injuries. Having a strong core will give you the ability to control your everyday movements such as climbing stairs, picking up an object, pushing objects, and reaching for things.

MUSCLES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO CORE MUSCLES 

Your core is the central part of your body which includes your pelvis, lower back, hips, and stomach. Training your core muscles will lead to better balance and stability. Let’s get an understanding of the vital core muscles. Most people think “core” is another name for “abs”. But the fact is, it’s not. The core does include the abs muscles, but it also includes muscles that move your hips and your back.

Rectus abdominis also known as “six-pack muscle” extends from your rib cage to your pubic bone. This makes up a small portion of your core.

External oblique muscles make up the side of your torso.

Internal oblique muscles are beneath the external obliques.

Transverse abdominals are a deep muscle that wraps around your spine and abdominal organs. This has a protective and supportive role.

Glute muscles contribute to stability, balance, and moving your legs away from your body. This muscle is the largest muscle in your body and is responsible for strength in your lower body.

Latissimus dorsi (pull-up muscles) run from the length of your back below your shoulder blades to your hip bones.

Erector spinae have three muscles that lie next to your spine and help you move side-to-side. These muscles rotate your torso.

Pelvic floor muscles are a collection of small muscles supporting your bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs. Yes, these are part of your core as well.

If any of the above muscles are weak, you will have instability, imbalance, lack of control, and prone to injury and pain.

STRONG CORE BENEFITS

For years people have been training their core incorrectly because they think the core is just their abs. They think core strengthening works those muscles in isolation. Little do they know that core is the stabilizer of the entire body and needs to focus and work within each movement. Stability training is not isolating one muscle, but rather working in unison with your other core muscles.

Training your core protects the spine and the entire body. When your core is stable you will have better balance which will have lower risks of misalignments and injuries. Stability core training works the hips, abs, and back as one unit. Are you a runner? Strong core as mentioned is great for balance. When you are jogging it will be easier to recover from missteps and staying stride.

Weak core muscles contribute to slouching. A strong core will prevent slouching and wear and tear on the spine. When your core is strong, especially your inner core muscles that attach to your spine, it helps to keep yourself upright and have good posture. It can also prevent neck pain as well.

When a trainer says, “engage your core” it does not mean to just engage your abs. It means to contract your trunk muscles to provide support to your spine and pelvis in a static position and dynamic movements. By engaging your core will help prevent lower back pain and help your core muscles work in harmony. 

Even if you have a six-pack (visible abs) this doesn’t always mean you have a strong core. It means you have less fat to show the muscle fibers beneath situated fat. Believe it or not you can have 100% core strength without having a six-pack.

In the long run, as you age your mobility decreases if you do not train your core. So get up and move and strengthen your core. 

CORE EXERCISES TO BOOST STRENGTH

PLANK:

This exercise targets your abdominal muscles, back muscles, hip flexors, hamstrings, and  glutes. It promotes good posture. 

How To:

Get into a press position, rest your forearms on the floor, legs straight, heels  up, elbows directly underneath your shoulders, your head relaxed, and look down on the floor. Engage your entire abdominal muscles, neutral spine, shoulders down, and hold this position for as long as you can, then gradually hold the plank longer. Modification, drop your knees to hold the plank. To prevent injuries to your back and neck, do not sag your hips, arch your back, and look up. 

SWIMMING SUPERMAN: This exercise targets your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and abs. It strengthens the erector spinae muscles and other surrounding muscles to support your spine. Promotes good posture.

How To: 

Lie on your belly, look down, legs straight, arms straight, and hover your feet and arms slightly off the ground as you tense your abs and glutes. Start swimming. Meaning start fluttering your arms and legs. Ensure that your legs, shoulders, head, and arms are hovering the entire time.

GLUTE BRIDGE: This exercise  works the hamstrings, lower back, abs, in addition to the glutes It will increase stability in your core and strengthen your glutes.

How To:

Lie flat on the floor with your legs bent. Drive through your heels to push your hips upwards as far as you can go, before pausing and returning to the start position. A strong core needs strong glutes. When you activate your glutes, it will do wonders for your physique in the years to come.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBER: This exercise works several different muscles including the shoulders, hamstrings, core, triceps, quads and core. It is excellent for core strengthening and balance.

How To:

Start in a plank position. Engage your core. Keep your back straight and hips down. Lift your right knee toward your chest. Return your knee to the starting position and lift the left knee toward your chest. Repeat. Return your right leg to the starting position as you simultaneously lift your left knee toward your chest. 

Please be sure to take your time when doing the above exercises if you’re a beginner. Then gradually increase your hold position and/or reps. If you have injuries or pain, it is always best to consult your physician prior to doing any kind of exercise.

SIX WORKOUT “BURN” (CORE AND CARDIO) HIIT CLASS

Are you ready to train your core and combine your training with cardiovascular exercises? Well, you’re in luck. SIX Workout offers “BURN” (core and cardio) HIIT classes on Saturdays. What are you waiting for? Sign-up today and get your stability and balance on!

References:

www.cnet.com

www.byrdie.com

www.healthline.com

www.verywellfit.com

 

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