Let’s get down to the core!
Your core is more than just your abdominal muscles, it’s your body’s powerhouse. Training your core muscles with endless crunches will not get you the results you are seeking. Strong core muscles make it easier to do many activities, such as running, swinging a golf club, getting a glass from the top shelf and bending down to tie your shoes. Complete an exercise with good form and you trained the core to do its job. Some tips to think about:
- Developing a strong torso means building both core stability (those deep internal muscles close to the spine) and core strength (think “six pack” abs).
- Build core stability first, and then build core strength. It’s important to get the deeper muscles working first, as when they are strong everything else will fit into place. If your core muscles are weak, it can leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries.
- The core stabilises and protects the spine, so that it limits excessive movement in any direction e.g. extension, flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation. So, when you are lifting a weight, the core’s responsibility is to limit movement e.g. when you perform a squat the core muscles create the fixed spine position.
- Breathing – how you breathe has an impact on your core. Try not to elevate your shoulders and lift your ribcage to let the air in. Instead, try to breathe air into the lowest point of your belly. A simple but effective exercise (which can be performed anywhere!) for building core stability is to draw in the abdominal muscles (think about your belly button pulling in back towards your spine), hold for five breaths, and then relax. Repeat 10 times.
Next week, I will post a video demonstrating a standing weighted exercise, to give the cues necessary to ensure you are working that powerhouse.
Good luck with your belly Breathing!