The term ‘core’ is commonly used only to refer to a six-pack. However, this is just a teeny part of it. Having a six-pack doesn’t mean that your entire core is strong. This is because your core is made up of a number of muscles. These are classified as ‘stabilisers’ and ‘movers’:
- The stabiliser muscles consist of the:
- Transverse abdominis
- Internal obliques
- Lumbar multifidus
- Pelvic floor muscles
- The movers group is made up of the:
- Rectus abdominis
- External obliques
- Erector spinae
- Latissimus dorsi
- Hip adductors
- Hip abductors
This means that in order to develop a core which is strong, you need to exercise each of these muscles equally so that they become balanced and all work together to make your core is rock solid. Developing a strong core is all about remaining still, not performing hundreds of abdominal curl repetitions.
Here are some exercises to develop a super-strong core. The best thing is that you don’t need to be an athlete to do these exercises. You can adjust these exercises according to your fitness levels.
The plank is the ultimate core exercise. This exercise involves slight movement but maximal effort. It requires you to balance your body by using your forearms and toes. You’ll do this while holding your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. You can make the plank easier by resting on your knees. Alternatively, you can make the exercise more challenging by extending your arms so that just your hands brace you.
Lie supine (in other words, on your back) with your arms stretched straight up towards the ceiling. Raise your legs into a tabletop position with your knees bent at 90°. Lower your right arm as well as your left leg simultaneously until they are hovering just above the floor. After this return to your starting position. Then do exactly the same with your opposite limbs.
Sit on your mat with your knees bent. Lean back slightly and keep your back straight. Make sure to extend your arms out in front of you as you lift your feet off the ground together with your legs. If you can, stretch your legs so they are straight and your body forms a V shape. You could also raise your arms and spread your legs to make the hold more difficult.
Why is it incredibly important to have a strong core?
Improved Balance and Stability
Exercises which work the core such as pilates, train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips in addition to your abdomen to work together. This activity leads to better balance as well as stability which makes daily activities such as walking, running as well as sitting much easier. If your core is strong, the muscles will work together to support your body which will make you less vulnerable to injuries, keep your body aligned and minimising strain on your muscles in addition to joints.
Eliminates Back Pain
A body which is aligned and upright will make you less prone to suffering from back pain. A person’s core is at the centre of their body which supports your entire body especially the neck and the back. If your core is not strong, then other structures of your back will need to work harder in order to support the body. This leads to muscle strains as well as back pain.
Good posture is responsible for lessening the wear and tear on the spine. In addition, good posture allows you to breathe deeply, which makes it easier for oxygen to go through your muscles so they are able to contract. An upright posture can help you to survive sitting or standing for long periods. It is crucial to have a strong core because it keeps your body aligned, eliminates back pain in addition to increasing your overall exercise output.
Not only does having a strong core look extremely good, but it also provides you with incredible health and wellness benefits. So, next time you’re at the gym pop into a Pilates class and see what benefits it has for your core!