Training your core is more than about creating an six-pack. The key reasons of why it's so important to train your core are : injury prevention, posture improvement, increased strength. But did you know that strengthening your core involves more than just training your abs? You can do be doing thousands sit-ups and crunches , but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your abdominal muscles will be strong and stable. From a functional perspective, the muscular definition of the abdominals is secondary to their ability to stabilize your spine and to transfer force throughout your body.
Below we will share 3 effective ways how you can strengthen your core muscles.
A lot of what the core does is to resist force and flexion. The most well-known exercises to resist flexion (“anti-flexion”) are plank variations; the classic front plank, for example, trains you to resist unnecessary hyperextension of your spine.
Plank ( Variations ) : Anti-Extension
To perform a plank, get down on the ground, put your forearms on the floor so that your elbows and shoulders are lined up and extend your legs behind you. Keep your body rigid by tensing your abs, squeezing your glute muscles, pulling your shoulder blades down, straightening your knees and stay on your toes. Other plank variations are also very helpfull and effective. Try to rotate between plank variations in your work-out routine.
Bird Dog : Anti-Rotation
Another way to train your core stability is to consider anti-rotation exercises like the bird dog or the palof press. This type of training is especially important for correcting strength imbalances in the hips and the lower back, which can be caused from doing certain repetitive movements or a predisposition. For the bird dog you kneel on the ground, put your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Now tense your abdominal muscles and lift one arm and the opposite leg (i.e. right arm and left leg), positioning them parallel to the floor. Remember not to let your body twist, keep your hips square pointing down. Engage your core muscles to prevent the lower back from rounding. Repeat this process with the opposite arm and leg.
Weighted Squat / Deadlift - Strength Transfer
As explained above, your core is responsible for resisting motion, but also for transferring force. A surprisingly effective exercise to train this are Squats or Deadlifts. When performing these, you try not to bend your spine. This is called anti-flexion. At the same time, your core must transfer force from your legs into the body to lift your it.
Hopefully with this blog you can have a different perspective on ''core training'' and you found these tips helpful.
Written by Bani Kamrani
EREP certified Personal Trainer