What is Core Strength?
A good core strength is a great way to keep your body injury-free & healthy. Your core muscles include your abdominal muscles, back muscles & muscles around the pelvis; basically, any muscle that contributes to you maintaining a neutral spine.
Having a strong core has many benefits, aswell as keeping you looking fit & toned. It can improve posture, meaning you’ll likely stand taller & more confidently. This makes you look leaner, in control & also helps to rid of (or prevent) back pain. Poor posture can lead to compressed discs in our spine & as a result, our quality of life can be affected negatively.
Core strength & stability also helps to protect our body: organs, nervous system, spinal cord, veins & arteries. A strong core helps to support every aspect of our body, allowing simple & more challenging daily activities to remain achievable.
There are many exercises that focus on your core muscles & it is important we keep our bodies balanced, as opposed to focusing purely on our abs. If we strengthen our abdominal muscles without strengthening our back muscles, for example, we are likely to suffer poor posture & back pain at some point. Balance is the key.
How Do I Improve Core Strength & Stability?
The plank is an excellent starter to build core stability. Once this becomes easy, you can raise a hand or opposite hand & leg. Once you are comfortable here, add a suspension trainer & keep building up the challenges as your strength increases. By practicing core challenges such as these, you also burn more calories & fat because you are working larger muscle groups, than basic ab crunches or similar.
TRX suspension trainers are generally an excellent way to train your core because you are required to keep yourself balanced at all times, despite working on an unstable surface. By using your abs, obliques & back muscles to stabilise your body, you are constantly keeping your core engaged.
Other popular options include the use of gym balls, balance plates & medicine balls; all of which are easily accessible & easy to use.
However, if you prefer to train without any equipment, this is perfectly feasible too. Ensure if you do ab crunches you also do back crunches. Positions such as Yoga Chair with crunches are excellent for building core strength without putting any strain on your back. Then there’s Boat pose, leg lifts on your stomach…the list is endless.
Put the corr in your core!!