Core Exercises for a Better Body
Core Training and Core Workout Tips
Core Exercises have taken over many personal training programs and workout routines. Core Training is a philosophy that has revolutionized the fitness industry in the past 10 years, but so many people don?t really understand the philosophy of core training.
On the surface, Core Training is simply exercising your abdominal and lower back muscles, but it is much deeper than that.
A Core Workout Program can be helpful in supporting good posture, managing back pain, and increasing sports performance. And, having a strong core can also support the hip, knee, and ankle joints below the core and the upper-back, shoulders, and neck above the core.
All movement is initiated from your center of gravity (core), so all activities will be more efficient if your core is strong and coordinated.
Understanding the Philosophy of Core Training
Physiotherapists in Australia did research on chronic lower back pain, and they tested the coordination of core muscles during movements of the arm or legs. What they found is that people who have healthy backs have good coordination around their spines (i.e. their core muscles contract before the arms or legs move).
Conversely, people with chronic lower back pain displayed poor coordination of their core muscles. In other words, their arms and legs would move before the abdominal and lower back muscles could keep the spine stable.
This research is so important for understanding how the body is supposed to work. All of our movements are initiated around our core. When the core muscles are strong and coordinated, our backs are protected from excess pressure.
There are many things that can cause poor coordination of the core muscles which leads to instability in the spine. Poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, poor flexibility, poor overall fitness, poor strength, obesity/ being overweight, prolonged sitting, pregnancy, and previous injury to the low back, hips, or legs can all lead to poor coordination of the core muscles.
This is why Core Training and Core Exercises are so important!
The Drawing in Maneuver is an important core exercise to master since most of us have one or more of the above issues that makes our lower back and spine more vulnerable to injury.
Since so many Americans suffer from low back pain, there has been an added focus on incorporating core exercises into fitness routines.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine has a really good philosophy regarding core training that is easy to implement in your exercise routines. In this section, I will teach you how to integrate their philosophy into your regimen.
But before we get into the philosophy of how to incorporate core training into your fitness routine, lets talk about the muscles of the core.
Muscles of the Core
Core exercise programs traditionally focus on the abdominal and lower back muscles. But any muscle that attaches to the pelvis, lower back, and ribs is part of your core. The core muscles are divided into 2 systems-- the deep stabilization system and the superficial movement system.
In regards to abdominal muscle anatomy, the ab muscles (rectus abdominus, internal obliques, and external obliques) pull the spine forward like in a curl. In addition, the internal and external oblique muscles help to rotate the spine and trunk, and many people consider the transversus abdominus as the most important core muscle for stabilizing the spine.
The lower back muscles (erector spinae and transversospinalis group) pull the trunk backwards and also help to rotate the spine.
The body is a chain. Youre only as strong as your weakest link. And since the body is connected movement or problems in one area, can affect all the other areas.
Your pelvis is the connection between the spine and the lower body, and your spine is connected to your upper body through your shoulder girdle. When your pelvis moves your entire lower body moves, and when your pelvis moves your entire spine and upper body moves.
So any muscle that attaches to the pelvis (lower back and ribs) is part of your core. The inner thigh, front of the thigh, back of the thigh, breathing muscles, pelvic floor, and latissimus dorsi (shoulder/ back muscle) can all affect your ribs, pelvis, and spine and should be considered part of the core.
It is very important to have strong abdominal and lower back muscles, but I want you to expand your understanding of the core and include the hip girdle and shoulder girdle as part of your core.
A Core Workout should focus on increasing the endurance, strength, coordination, and power of the abs, back, hips, and shoulders.
Incorporating Core Exercises in your Workout Routine
You must first establish a clear goal for your workout before deciding which type of exercises to include in your workout.
Exercise can improve 3 main areas:
#1 Coordination and Stability
#3 Power, Speed, and Agility
If your goal is to improve coordination and stability than you will focus on core stability exercises. Core Stability Exercises focus on teaching you how to keep your lower back and pelvis stable. Isometric exercises for the abs and back are included to increase stability and protect the lower back.
If your goal is to improve your strength, you will focus on core strength exercises. Core Strength Exercises focus on challenging your abdominal and lower back muscles through a large range of motion so that the spine is strong throughout movement.
If your goal is to improve power or speed, then you will focus on dynamic core exercise. Dynamic Exercises for the Core are performed in an explosive way, and usually involves throwing or jumping. Dynamic exercises are a great way for athletes to improve sports performance.
You can focus on a specific change by choosing the most appropriate exercises for your situation.
Beginners should first focus on increasing core stabilization, and then move forward to core strength, and lastly dynamic exercises.
All core work will improve stability, strength, and power, but you can emphasize an aspect of fitness by choosing certain exercises and performing them certain ways.
No matter what your fitness goal, I highly recommend that you incorporate core exercises into your fitness and workout routine.
For a great core workout, try my core workout dvd and let me help you strengthen your core muscles.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles Inniss
Check out these 14 Core Training and Core Workout Tips
Here are some Isometric Core Exercises on a Bosu Balance Trainer
Try this core workout on the ball Or..
Read my page on the Best Upper Body Exercises for Speed and Power in the Core
Or check out these Exercises for Building Core Strength
Return to the Home Page of the Best Ab Exercises Website
P.S. Check out my Core Workout Video!
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