Although commonly used for referring to the abdominal muscles, the word “core” actually covers several muscles in the lower and upper body. The rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques, multifidus, hip flexors, hamstring group, gluteus group and spinal erectors are all considered as core muscles. All these core muscles help to stabilize the pelvis and spine, as well as operate the full length of your torso. Whenever the core muscles start contracting, they create a solid support base by stabilizing the shoulder girdle, spine and pelvis. When this occurs, we are capable of generating strong movements in the extremities.

Advantages of getting a stronger core

Reduces back pain

A strong core is a good foundation of power and strength, as well as protecting your back. This is because having unbalanced and weak core muscles is usually linked to back pain. Fragile core muscles also lead to a curved posture. Performing the right core exercises and creating stronger core muscles assists in reducing strain on your spine and maintaining proper posture.

Enhances athletic performance

One of the key duties of core muscles is controlling how power is transferred to the legs and arms. In essence, all powerful hand and leg movements originate from your core muscles and move outwards. Before any rapid or powerful muscle contraction occurs, the spine needs to be stable and solid. Hence, a stronger core guarantees a more stable spine, which results in more powerful movements.

Corrects postural imbalances

Engaging in core exercises helps to repair any postural imbalances, which can result in back injuries. The greatest advance of getting a stronger core is developing functional fitness. This kind of fitness is essential for doing regular activities and daily living.

Core strengthening exercises

Core building exercises are only most efficient when both back and front muscles contract simultaneously, spine stabilization is monitored and multi joint exercises are performed. An important technique used in core exercises is abdominal bracing. This is where you try pulling your navel back inwards towards your spine. Ensure that you can breathe evenly even while bracing as there is no need to hold your breath.

There are numerous exercises that can help strengthen your core. Most of these exercises can even be performed at home without any special equipment. However, others may require some gadgets or equipment for effective performance.

fitness beginner plank newbies

Planks

Lie on a yoga mat or the floor facing downwards. Place your toes and forearms on the ground and then push up such that only the toes and forearms remain on the ground. Tighten your leg, arm, chest, abdominal and back muscles to make this a full body workout.  Ensure you keep your body straight and breathe evenly. After holding the plank position for 30 seconds, take a few seconds to relax.

Then lift yourself upwards again for 30 seconds on your left side. Your left toes and forearm should be touching the floor. Hips and shoulders are going to be directly stacked over one another. You can separate your feet or have them on top of each other. Hold this position for thirty seconds, rest, and then switch over to your right side.

Repeat the entire cycle 5 more times and increase the amount of time you hold each position as your core strength increases. The plank not only strengthens your core area, but also your whole body, which results in more stability.

Core Twist

Arm sweep

Sit down on the floor and stretch out your legs in front of you or bend your knees and keep the feet flat. Engage your core to assist you to sit upright. Next, stretch your arms outwards to the sides. Then twist your upper body to your right side so that your left hand reaches for your right foot and the right hand touches the floor behind you. Do the same action on your left side.

This leads to an arm sweeping motion and also twisting of your core area to engage both the back and abdominal muscles. The number of repetitions and sets you should aim for are determined by your current fitness level. For beginners, start with 2 sets of 8 reps, while advanced people can aim for 5 sets of 20 reps.

How-To-Do-Superman-Exercise

Superman

Lie on a yoga mat facing down. Put your hands in front of you and straighten your feet by tightening the glutes and inner thighs. Lift your chest, head, feet and arms off of the yoga mat. At this juncture, only your hips and belly will be touching the mat. Hold this flying position for 30 seconds, engaging your glutes and lower back muscles.

Rest for a while and repeat the exercise for another thirty seconds. If you find holding the position for 30 seconds has become easy, make your exercise more challenging by increasing the workout length by 10 seconds. This workout strengthens your back muscles, thus supporting your spine.

Create a plan for exercising your core

Just like any other muscle group, you must give sufficient rest time in between the different exercises to capitalize on results. Use full body workouts that engage all the crucial muscle groups and also include cardio intervals for functionality and efficiency. Some people choose alternate days of the week for various muscle groups. Here is an example of a full  body training schedule:

  • Monday – Weight training
  • Tuesday – Core workouts
  • Wednesday – Cardiovascular training
  • Thursday – Strength training
  • Friday – Core workouts
  • Saturday – Cardiovascular training
  • Sunday – Rest

However, if you only want core training, then your plan could be:

  • Monday – 30 minutes core workouts
  • Tuesday – 60 minutes core workouts
  • Wednesday – Rest with light warm up
  • Thursday – 30 minutes core workouts
  • Friday – 60 minutes core workouts
  • Saturday – Rest with light warm up
  • Sunday – Rest with light warm up

Doing physical activities such as gardening, sports or running will also enhance your core health. Make sure that you choose your favorite activities you enjoy doing to get maximum results. For instance, lots of sporting activities require a strong core to win, and thus, if you participate in these activities regularly, you will find that you are benefiting from them in an enjoyable way.