If you weaken the center of any freestanding structure it becomes unstable. Eventually, everyday wear-and-tear takes its toll, causing the structure to buckle under pressure. This is exactly what happens when the core muscles are weak – it compromises your body’s ability to support the frame properly. In recent years, there has been a lot of buzz about the importance of a strong core – and there is a valid reason for this. The core is where all of the powerful movements in the body originate – so it can essentially be thought of as your “center of power.”
When most people hear the term “core,” they automatically think of the abdominals. But the core is more complex than having a great “six pack.” This section of the body consists of several different muscles that work simultaneously to provide a solid base of support for the upper and lower body.
What is Core Training?
Core training targets all of the muscles that stabilize the trunk. These muscles work in unison to support each other. So when there are weak muscles in your midsection, it causes an imbalance that forces the stronger muscles to pick up the slack. For this reason, all of the muscles in your torso and trunk must be equally strong to help the body perform efficiently. Some
of the benefits of core training include:
- increased athletic performance
- reduced, or eliminated back pain
- reduced risk of back injury
- better posture
- improved balance
- more efficient movements
- increased power in the limbs
- more efficient transfer of energy (such as when jumping)
The only way to truly strengthen the muscles in your core is to fire them up with plenty of core training exercises. Sure, you can spend your hard-earned dollars on a bunch of “core training” equipment. But the only muscles infomercial doodads target are the ones used to dig in your wallet.
The truth is, you don’t need any of those ridiculous “seen on TV” gizmos to strengthen your core. Most of them are a complete waste of money anyway. With the right exercises, core strength can be attained without the use of novelty equipment.
The secret to success with core strength training is to stabilize you core before and during each exercise. Stabilizing the core is also called, “activating the core,” “contracting the core,” “engaging the core” and “tightening the core.” But, whatever it is called, it all refers to the same thing: maintaining a “drawn in” core during each and every exercise.
To “draw in” the core, you simply draw in (suck in) your belly button towards your spine. However, be careful not to hold your breath. With your core stabilized, you should still be able to breathe normally.
Activating your core will help stabilize your body and put it in proper alignment for your workout. It will also make the exercises more effective because each muscle will be able to be engaged properly.
You don’t have to be exercising to activate your core. You can do it throughout the day as you are working or walking to help yourself maintain good posture and improve your core muscle strength. It’ a great way to stay focused on good posture regardless of what you are doing.
So, straighten up, stop slouching, and use the exercises below to fire up your core and build a rock-solid body!
Share your thoughts in the comment section. Are you going to start sitting a little straighter?