It seems that you cant walk through a gym these days without the term “core“ landing on your ear. Likewise, informercial products routinely promise to tighten, trim and tone your “core“ and even magazine headlines boast ‘Secrets to an Evvious Core.’
So what is all the hype about “core” training? And – more importantly – why should you care?
Since the fitness industry is notorious for going through crazes (remember jazzercise in the 80’s ?) it’s understandable for you to be skeptical of the latest fad. However, I have news for you.
Core training is definitely worth your time.
In fact, training your core will result in tremendous benefits in a relatively short amount of time. But ladies, you have to trust me that this goes beyond asthetics. This is because a strong core improves your posture, decreases your chance of injury, increases your power and functionality, AND (drumroll please)..… gives you a great-looking lean midsection.
Core training is rapidly gaining popularity for one specific reason: sitting leads to a weak core. Sitting? Yep, sitting.
Think about your typical work day. If you are like most people then your day starts with a 30-60 minute commute to work, followed by 8 hours at your desk and then another 30-60 minute commute home. That’s a lot of sitting. And it all adds up to one thing: a weak core.
What is Core Training?
The term “core” refers to the muscles of your abdominals and those of your lower back. If you picture your body and then aim for the very center you would be looking directly at your core. The muscles that make up the core play a unique role since they provide stabilization for your entire body.
Core training seeks to strengthen the muscles of your abdominal and lower back using coordinated movement (i.e. integrating abdominal tightness with all upper or lower body movement.) A strong focus is put on contracting your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your spine throughout the exercises to ensure that your core muscles are engaged.
Realize too that what you think of as the “six pack” muscles is not where this story ends. The most important stabilizers of your spine are actually a band of muscles that encapsulate the midsection like a girdle. The Transverse Abdominis runs from your belly button around to the vertebra of your lumbar spine, aka “your lower back.” This little anatomy lesson is to inform you that you must perform more than just the typical crunching ab exercise to effectively strengthen that core of yours. Keep reading…
What are the risks of a weak Core?
Unfortunately many ailments stem from having weak core muscles. You may be personally acquainted with the most common ailment…lower back pain. Other problems include poor posture, being injury prone, having minimal strength and (drum roll please) a bulging waistline.
If you are suffering from a weak core then read on…
What are the benefits of a strong Core?
Alleviating persistent back pain is one of the most welcomed benefits of a strong core. An increase in strength and protection from injury are also nice, and who doesn’t love to lose inches from their waist as a result of tightened muscle?
Everyday motions such as lifting, squatting, reaching, twisting and bending will become less challenging after strengthening your core. While you may not immediately see the value in this, remember that it is better to be safe than sorry – who really wants to throw out their back while taking out the trash? I sure don’t…
How can I strengthen my Core?
A great place to start is to practice the technique mentioned earlier – pull your belly button in toward your spine, not by simply sucking in your gut, but by contracting your deep abdominals. Do you feel it? Good. Now make it a habit to do this exercise while you sit. Like on the subway to work…at work…on the walk home – you get the idea.
It doesn’t stop there – you also want to routinely exercise the muscles of your abdominals and lower back. This can be done by performing exercises that target these specific areas such as crunches, bridges, and planks.
Keep in mind that each of these exercises has 100’s of variations, yes 100’s. So if this exercise that you are performing is no longer a challenge, it is time to go to the next step in the progression.
If your interest has been roused and you want to lean more about core training, then give us a call! We work around the clock to bring fitness into the lives of my clients, and we want to help you too. Contact us now, and let’s get to work on reshaping your body – starting with your core.
Please join us for a whole week for only $1 for new members. NYC Adventure Boot Camp, all woman’s boot camp/fitness boxing in Central Park and Scarsdale,