Strong core muscles are very important to an individuals overall health and well being. For exercising, it can certainly make it easier and less strenuous to get and maintain your fitness, while making many other activities, such as swinging a golf club, lifting a wheel barrow and even bending down to tie your shoes a lot easier.
The benefits of having a strong core as opposed to a weak core muscles for an athlete, less fatigue, greater endurance and fewer injuries. Weak core muscles can also leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries. Strengthening of the core back muscles may also help reduce your back pain.
For the majority of people, focusing on their core with specific exercises, is often over looked, apart from the odd sit-up, pushup or plank. Exercises that use of both your back and abdominal muscles, simultaneously, can loosely be called core exercise. When using free weights, it’s necessary to maintaining a stable trunk, by default the muscles around the core indirectly benefit from the exercise. For those wanting a little more than just core stability and more-definition in their abdominal muscles, you will have to incorporate some aerobic activity in your routine to burn the abdominal fat. These core exercises will strengthen and tone the underlying muscles, but unfortunately will most likely be cover by a layer of fat.
Some of the following exercises can assist in developing and maintain some strength in your core around the abdominal region:- Bridge: A bridge is another example of a classic core exercise. 1.Lie on your back with your knees bent. 2. Keep your back in a neutral position, not arched and not pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting your hips. 3.Tighten your abdominal muscles. 4. Raise your hips off the floor until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold the position for 30 seconds without breaking your form.
Crunch: Crunches are a classic core strengthening move where the the act of lifting your upper torso ,works your abdominal muscles. 1. Start on your back. Bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor at hip width. Line up your head and spine. Cross your arms across your chest. 2. Tighten your core and relax your neck and shoulders. Tuck in your chin and lift your upper back, keeping your lower back, pelvis, and feet on the floor. Pause. 3. Slowly lower your upper back to return to the starting position. Start with 1 set of 10–15 reps. Plank: The plank is a great exercise that uses the whole body (arm, shoulders,back, legs and glutes ) and targets the core. 1. Start on all fours, with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. 2. Straighten your legs behind you, keeping your feet hip-width apart. Tighten your core. Hold for 10–30 seconds. If your are just starting out to the exercise, to make it easier, place your knees on the floor. Bird Dog: This exercise works both your abdominal and back muscles, the perfect core strengthening move. 1. Start on all fours, hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. 2.Tighten your core. Lift and straighten your right leg to hip level. Simultaneously lift and extend your left arm to shoulder level, palm down. Pause. 3. Repeat with your left leg and right arm. Start with 1 set of 10–15reps. Mountain Climb: The mountain climb combines the plank with your knee movement, helping to develop balance along with your core. 1. Start in a plank with your hands below your shoulders. Tighten your core. 2. Lift your right knee toward your chest, keeping your back straight and hips down. 3. Return your right leg to the starting position as you simultaneously lift your left knee toward your chest. 4. Continue alternating legs. Start with 1 set of 10–15 reps. For those that are looking for something a little more advanced, the following exercises should provide it. Bicycle crunch: Another classic core strengthening move that places your abdominal muscles under constant tension. 1. Start in a plank with your hands below your shoulders. Tighten your core. 2. Lift your right knee toward your chest, keeping your back straight and hips down. 3 .Return your right leg to the starting position as you simultaneously lift your left knee toward your chest. Continue alternating legs. Start with 1 set of 10–15 reps, then build out to multiple sets. Side plank with rotation: Starting with the basic plank position, the side plank rotation also works the shoulders, arms and obliques. 1. Lie on your right side with your right forearm below your shoulder. Extend your legs, left foot on top of right. Lift your hips to form a straight line with your body. Raise your left arm straight up. 2. Rotate your torso toward the floor and bring your left arm under your body. 3 Rotate your torso and straighten your left arm to return to the starting position. 4. Repeat fr the other side. Start with 1 set of 10–15 reps for each side. Bird dog with elbow to the knee: A variation from the original bird dog. 1. Start on all fours, hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. 2 . Lift and straighten your right leg to hip level while simultaneously lift and extend your left arm to shoulder level, palm down. 3 Bring your right knee and left elbow toward each other. Return to the starting position. 4. Repeat for the other side. Start with 1 set of 10–15 reps for each side. Conclusion: Whether you’re a hard core fitness fanatic or just a weekend warrior, having a strong core will only be a beneficial. Like any exercise , starting out is always tough, but within a few short session, you’ll notice the difference and as we tend to spend more time sitting down these day, a strong core can only be a plus! Brett’s view: Along with my morning stretches, I try to incorporate a few of the exercises mentioned above. I have to admit, I don’t alway succeed, but over the course of time, I have definitely appreciated the benefits. David’s view:
I incorporate some of these in my early morning stretch routine and have definitely benefitted from a stronger core - my golf swing is yet to improve, but there is always hope !