The core aspect of every healthy, strong and able body, is indeed that – the core. Strengthening and maintaining one’s core muscles is integral because it is the centre, or pivot point that your upper and lower body use as an adjoining link. Each movement you make heavily involves, or directly originates from within your core.
Being far more than just your ‘six pack’, its major function is to ensure the spine is spared from excessive load, and to transfer force between the upper and lower body and vice versa. As our bodies connection point and driving force, it is important to explore just what your core is doing for you.
Not just abs!
- Every day acts such as putting on your shoes, picking up a box or your groceries, standing up from your couch or office chair, bathing, and even dressing yourself – these daily tasks are some of the many which require your core.
- House and hobby work like gardening, D.I.Y projects, and repairing endeavours all require a multitude of different movements that will bend, twist and move your body to lift, carry, hammer and reach. Even a quick vacuum and mop of the floors require a strong core!
- Preventing injury to the body is perhaps one of the most important to note! A strong core also assists with one’s balance and stability. Your physical movements when controlled and stable are less inclined to cause injury or strain.
- Good posture and less lower back pain are added benefits. A strong core encourages less wear and tear on the spinal column, and less discomfort that is often caused by an achey lower back!
- Sports and workouts will all generally require your core in a variety of ways. The range of benefits is vast. Incorporating a dedicated core regime into your training will show results in a myriad of aspects of your performance.
So, lots of sit-ups then?
Not quite. Your core is your spines protection, and it is basically anything that isn’t your arms and legs. Therefore, it truly pays off throughout your entire body to strengthen all of these muscles. Your four main abdominals, rectus abdominus, your externa and internal obliques, and transverse abdominis, are accompanied by three glute muscles, and a multitude of hip adductors that move your legs inward. Back muscles, such as your latissimus dorsi and erector spinae, also play a part in your core, pulling you up and moving you side to side. Last but not least, your core includes your pelvic floor muscles at the bottom and your scapula, and your shoulder blade to which 17 muscles attach to!
About those sit-ups: recent studies are showing that certain exercises that have been known to strengthen the core (and some that really only focus on your six pack) can actually be more detrimental than beneficial. Exercises, like sit-ups, when performed at high volumes put excess stress on your spinal discs, the movement itself is a secondary function of our bodies.
In answer to this, core training is effectively training every muscle involved and could be seen as creating the foundation of your home. Developing a stable base to which you can safely build a house upon. The process shouldn’t be rushed and care should be taken as it truly is the centrepiece of human anatomy!
Okay, so no sit-ups?
There’s an extensive list of exercises and movements that are brilliant core builders. Ones you may have heard of, like the full body plank, bridge, V-sit, leg raises and mountain climbers, are brilliant to begin with. There are some more unique ones you could consider trying out such as the dead bug, tummy vacuums, bird dog, and clam shell!
Don’t forget to monitor your progress if you’re working on your core strength. Notice your posture improving. Are you able to move furniture around the house without putting out your back? If you’re a little more experienced, paying close attention to the core will show leaps and bounds in your progress, even if you’re working on goals in another areas! It’s vital for your essential stability and spinal support that your core is cared for. Laying a strong foundation for your physical goals to flourish is important so that you can avoid any unnecessary injury in your activities or in future. If you are wanting a private or group coaching lesson on how to build your core effectively, then check out my coaching packages for more information