The first thing everyone thinks when they hear about training their core is training for a six pack, flat stomach or a small waist. What many people don’t realise is that your core is made of up of many muscles the include abdominal, back and pelvic muscles and the main reason for strengthening them is to add stability to the entire torso.
Reasons to train your core:
Strong core muscles are vital for everything you do throughout the day. They help keep you upright and support your spine when doing simple tasks like climbing stairs or bending over to pick something up. These muscles also play an important role in your overall balance by providing full body stability and helping prevent falls or even stopping yourself from falling when caught off balance. Having a strong core also helps reduce the risk of injury when playing sport or exercising in the gym by increasing your overall stability.
It is also incredibly important to keep the muscles in your pelvic floor strong, especially in women. These muscles can be weakened by the following:
- Weight gain
Making sure these pelvic floor muscles remain strong is also important in preventing any type of organ prolapse such as bladder, bowels or even the uterus.
How to train your core:
A common misconception is that core training involves simply doing lots of crunches or sit-ups. This is in fact the opposite as doing to many of these abdominal specific exercises can lead to core imbalances as well as placing unnecessary pressure on your back.
Instead, by performing full body exercises like squats, lunges, controlled deadlifts and even planks, you get an awareness of your entire body by strengthening it. This is because the core muscles need to be activated and strong in order to remain upright during these movements in order to perform them correctly. It is also much more efficient to train your core by doing these full body strength movements as it works the core on a deeper level while also strengthening other muscles throughout the body.
Here are some typical core exercises that are easy to do at home:
- Body-weight Lunges: Standing up straight, step forward with one foot while going onto the toe of the leg behind. Slowly bend the back leg so the knee is going down towards the ground. Maintain an upright posture and do not let the knee of the front leg go over your toe as this increases pressure on the knee.
- Plank: Lower yourself to the floor into a push up position, now move your weight from your hands to your elbows so the points of contact with the floor are your forearms. Make sure your elbows are shoulder width apart from each other. Placing your weight over your elbows, lift your knees so that your body is in a straight line from head to heel. Keep your abs and glutes contracted throughout the hold and make sure your back does not begin to arch. Make sure your back is also rounded at the top by pushing your shoulder blades away from one another.
- Crunches: Starting flat on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Tighten your abdominal muscles and visualize pushing your lower back firmly into the floor. Keeping these muscles tight, slowly roll your shoulders up off the floor as if you are moving one vertebra at a time. Keep crunching until your shoulder blades are off the floor and slowly lower yourself back down. Perform these 10 times for a total of three sets.
If you are having any trouble dealing with lower back pain or a weak core, please feel free to contact us so we can help you out and get you as strong as you can be.