Improve your core strength
What is the picture of your ideal midsection? If your first thought is an image of rippling six packs, then you’re probably not alone. The rectus abdominis certainly is the most visually striking part of the core, but “the abs” are only a small part of what makes up “the core”.
One of the most important functions of your core is to stabilise the body and protect the spine. To do this there are the external muscles that make up the abs, obliques, and lower back muscles. More crucial are the internal muscles that are the real heroes – transverse abs, multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and others.
When people think about core training, they immediately think of sit ups and crunches. The thing to remember about working out any muscle is the more that you target them, the stronger they become. So in the case of sit ups and crunches, your rectus abdominis is getting stronger, but you haven’t balanced that out with any oblique exercises like rotations, or posterior chain exercises like deadlifts or kettlebell swings. This causes excessive forward pull on the spine and can cause long term chronic back issues.
The ideal core workout involve exercises that move the core through its natural range of motions.
Stabilisers – eg. Dead bugs, Bird dogs – these involve extensions of alternate arms and legs while on your back or all fours, or pulling or pushing whilst keeping the core still.
Rotation – eg. Woodchops, Russian twist – side to side, low to high, or high to low rotations develop the small internal muscles that are crucial to protect the spine when in motion. These also develop the obliques to get that V taper that is highly prized.
Posterior (rear) chain – eg. Variations of Deadlifts and Kettlebell Swings – Don’t focus on these as a lower back exercise, they should involve the hamstrings, hips, glutes and lower back all together to lift or move the body/weight.
Static – The core is just as important in keeping the body still and rigid as it is in movement. Planks are the epitome of these, but you need to keep your core strong and tight in many exercises – push ups, squats, lunges, and overhead raises.
Breathing – Watch the video, and check out this Blog Post on proper breathing while exercising to protect the spine and add structure and stability.
These exercises are important for everyone, but especially CBD Office workers who are at their desk for hours each day, and new mothers who want to strengthen and reinforce those internal core muscles after childbirth.
Core strength and stability will see a marked improvement in your posture, back and neck tension, balance, athletic performance, and stress on the body. When you slouch less, you are able to breathe easier, reduce pressure on internal organs, and therefore improve blood and oxygen flow to those internal organs and brain. Book in a Complimentary Session with Velocity Fitness to start strengthening your core.