You are forcing your core to do a job it does not want to do. Your core is an honest, simple, hard-working muscle group that helps you to perform a number of things, but you, in all of your selfish ambition are trying to force it to be a model.
I get it, everyone wants abs. I am sitting here typing this blog, sipping a bland protein shake while my coworkers are diving headfirst into their burrito bowls because I too want abs.
But your abdominal muscles do more than get you likes on Instagram, they support your entire body. Your abdominal, along with some of the muscles in your back form your body’s core. Your core works to stabilize your entire body during a number of movements and activities.
Core exercises strengthen the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and stomach to work in harmony. This will help you to develop greater balance and stability. Most activities depend on developed core strength.
Throughout the length of this article, we will explain why your core is one of the most important muscle groups in your body, how strengthening your core will benefit you, and the best ways to train and strengthen your core. Continue reading to find out how your least favorite exercise might be a thing of the past.
Almost any movement you make is either done with, or at the very least, incorporates your core muscles. They are the base of your body’s entire support system. They connect your lower body to your upper body.
While your core is what helps you to stand tall and sit up straight, it is even more important when you start moving. Bending forward, backward, to your right or your left, and even rotating is done by your core.
Your core activates a split second before you make any major movements. You can test this out right now! If you are sitting, lift both of your legs 2 or 3 inches off of the ground. You will notice that your core and back tense up right before your foot leaves the ground.
Your core is what is bracing your body for these movements. If you do not have a strong core, then you will not have a strong brace to protect your body. A weak core can lead to several injuries. Back, shoulder and knee injuries are among the most common injuries caused by a weak core.
You may have deduced some of the reasons by now, but there are a multitude of reasons why strengthening your core will benefit you.
No matter where motion starts, it moves outward in all directions from your core. As a result, weak core muscles can impair how well your whole body functions. A strong core will also help you to increase your balance and stability. In fact, core strength affects almost everything you do.
Core balance affects so much of your body and comes with a myriad of benefits, far beyond a six-pack.
Activities that involve lifting, twisting, and standing all rely on core muscles. Tasks like sitting at your desk for hours also engage your core. Routine office work can make your back muscles surprisingly stiff, particularly if your back is not strong enough to maintain good posture and if you are not taking enough breaks.
Lower back pain is a problem that will affect four out of five Americans at some point in their lives. The worst part is that it can almost always be prevented with core exercises. If back pain is something that is bothering you, starting an exercise routine of core exercises is often able to aid in relieving it.
Many other athletic activities depend on you having a strong core. The stronger your core, the better you will be able to perform your chosen activity. This is even further solidified since core exercises increase your balance and stability. This comes in handy with sports like basketball, dance, or skateboarding.
Weak core muscles contribute to slouching. Slouching over time can compress your internal organs, compact the protective discs between your vertebrae and keep you from breathing deeply.
Some exercises can help you strengthen your entire core. “Entire” is the key word here. Many people hear core exercises and think “crunches” but as I mentioned earlier, your least favorite exercise may not be necessary. As it turns out, crunches are not super effective for strengthening your core or your abs.
So stop doing crunches! You do not need to work your abs so much; your core is made up of more muscle groups than just your abdominal. If you only focus on your abs then you will be seriously neglecting other important parts of your core.
Some great body weight exercises to strengthen your core are planks, mountain climbers, push-ups, and bridges. You do not need to lift heavy weights to strengthen your core.
However, with proper form and in moderation, exercises like squats, dead lifts, overhead presses, and weighted ab pull downs can help to take your core strength to the next level.
A type of exercise equipment that has become very popular in recent years and will help you to develop strong core balance is the use of a balance board.
These balance boards come in many configurations but always consist of a board that you can stand on, or do push ups on, that has a rounded bottom or is set on top of a round or unstable platform.
Core balance exercises are very effective because of the way your core works as a brace for your whole body. As you struggle to stay balanced, your core will constantly be firing and tensing up as you attempt to stay on top of it.
Some of these balance exercises can be extremely difficult, but there is a company that sells a system that makes their board accessible to even the least skilled beginner. You are then able to step up to intermediate and pro levels as you become comfortable.
As you can see there are many benefits to having a strong core. Most injuries that we incur can be somehow be traced back to the core. If it did not cause the injury it likely was a contributing factor.
Luckily, there are hundreds of great exercises out there meant to strengthen your core. A huge portion are body weight exercises that you can do completely free in your own home.
So stop doing crunches and start doing something more effective like core balance exercises and you will reap the benefits of having a strong core. And who knows? You might just end up with abs too.