Core fitness exercise has become synonymous with abdominal conditioning. In terms of core stability, the abdominal muscles don’t do very much. Without proper strength and conditioning of all core muscles, injury, aches and pains can occur more frequently. The core of the body is responsible for supporting the back, spine and shoulders. Core fitness exercises should aim to strengthen all muscles related to these areas.
A strong Core will benefit you for the following reasons:
The Power to Work Harder in the Gym
Strength and power originate in the core of the body. When the trunk, torso and pelvis are strong and stable, power is transferred to all other muscles. Powerful contractions, such as rapid muscle movements, require a strong core. The more stable the core, the more energy transferred to the muscles leading to quicker repetitions and more effective training.
Core fitness exercises also support proper posture. Imbalances of posture can lead to improper weight lifting form, injuries, and undue pressure on the lower back. Pressure and pain of the lower back is a common symptom of weak core muscles.
The abdominal muscles are important to core stability and strength. When the abdominal muscles are weak, the lower back holds additional pressure and weight from simple daily tasks like walking. When exercising, this pressure grows exponentially leading to painful back injuries. Strengthening the abdominal muscles allows the weight of the upper body to be evenly distributed over the front and back. When weight is distributed, balance improves.
Choosing Effective Core Fitness Exercise:
In order to choose effective core fitness exercises, you must first learn the muscles supporting the core of the body. The core muscles begin at the top of the abdominal trunk and run down to the lower torso.
These muscles include:
Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius these are the muscles of the middle hip and buttocks area. Hamstring muscles are also included in the gluteus muscles.
Hip Flexors and Adductors these are the muscles of the upper hip andpelvis.
Abdominal Muscles which are the the external and internal obliques, traverse abdominis, and rectus abdominus.
Erector Spinae and Multifidus, are muscles supporting the spine.
Working the Torso as a Solid Unit
The torso can be pictured as a solid unit. This unit needs to be strong and stable like the frame of a car. If the torso is weak, the muscles of the body will not perform at optimal levels. Core fitness exercises can help build stability of the core. Building strength in the core of the body does not require weights or gym machines.
Some common core exercises that work the core as a solid unit include:
Abdominal Bracing – Pull the belly button in toward the spine and hold. Continue breathing while bracing
Plank – Start in a push-up position with the elbows and forearms on the floor. Hold the back straight do not dip the back or raise the bottom, its called plank because you should be as straight as a board!
Crank it up by adding a lift, lift one leg, hold then lower the leg and repeat with the opposite leg.
V-Sits – Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of the body. Lift the legs to a 45 degree angle and keep your back straight with your arms out in front reaching forwards in the direction of the feet. The body will resemble a V shape.
Crank it up by doing in outs, maintain the strong V shape, but close the V and then extend it to a wider flatter V.
Spiderman – start in a strong press up position, bring your left knee to the outside of your left elbow without your position lifting or lowering, return leg back to start and do the same with the right leg, don’t let foot touch the floor, if you cant reach your elbow at first bring it in and to the outside as far as is possible without losing form.