“Core strength” has been something of a buzz term recently, Isn’t core training just a fancy way of saying toning your abs?
But there’s way more to core training than just the abdominals.
The Importance of Core Strength
It may seem simple, and it is, but your core is at the center of your body -- which is why it was bestowed its great and descriptive name. The core encompasses the abdomen, hips, back, and chest, and is made up of twenty-nine pairs of muscles. For example, you’ve got the abdominal muscles, such as the transverse abdominals and your obliques filling out your core up in the front. Then, you’ve got muscles like the paraspinal that support the spine and are extremely important for core function and strength.
Additionally, the core also includes the diaphragm, the muscles in the pelvic floor, the muscles around the hips, and the gluteal muscles. Having a strong core is not only extremely beneficial to athletes, but for everyone that leads a busy lifestyle. Fear not, however, here are CoachUp’s favorite benefits and workouts for having a strong core.
In the world of health and fitness, there’s a lot of hype about core strength. However, the benefits of having a strong core are often misunderstood. One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that the term core is interchangeable for abs. While the abdominal muscles do make up a significant part of the core, they are not the only important set muscles and focusing only on ab exercises will not yield effective results.
One of the main benefits of strengthening your core is increased balance and stability. Your core helps to stabilize the spine and pelvis -- this means that walking, sitting, and standing are all tasks that activate the core. It also helps to keep your spine erect and your hip bones in a neutral position. Since your core makes up the center of your body and encompasses the spinal column, all movements pass through it. A strong core consists of muscles that work together in coordination to stabilize and support your body. Having strong core stabilizers enables you to maximize strength in your arms and legs.
Posture + Prevention
Understandably, the core promotes good posture. When your core muscles are strong, they enable you to keep your body upright and prevent slouching. Having good posture can help you survive sitting or standing for long periods of time without experiencing back pain. Additionally, another key benefit to improving your core strength is for injury prevention. Strong core muscles keep your body aligned, so as to minimize the strain on your muscles and joints. The muscles that make up your core act as a shock absorber during activities such jogging or jumping, which, in turn, protects your joints.
To improve your core strength, incorporate exercises that target multiple muscle groups into your daily fitness plan. With the summer months always right around the corner, most people focus solely on getting that misleading beach body ready and often overdo the ab exercises. Isolating only your abdominal muscles can be ineffective and won’t typically produce the desired results. Doing exercises that work your whole core is a great way to tone your body while increasing your overall health and fitness. Next time you workout, try some of these exercises: (Focus on holding the plank for as long as possible without compromising form and then add 10/15 second on each week.)
- Side Planks
As we mentioned before, it’s crucial to focus on the big picture instead of just the ones people may occasionally see. An unworked core is nearly the same as an inefficient core with strong abdominals. The entire core needs to work together in symphony to have the athlete firing on all cylinders during games and practices.
Training your entire core can be beneficial for improvement in life as well, from better posture to absorbing the shock after a high jump or bump, but that won’t happen unless there’s a strong overall product.
What's your favourite Core Exercise….?