The core is considered the powerhouse of the body.

All the movements that we make daily originate from the core; the more stable the core, the more efficient and powerful our movements will be. Movements like lifting, bending, twisting and reaching all involve the muscles of the core.

In order to have a well-rounded fitness regimen you must incorporate exercises that target the muscles of the core.  Core muscles include the following:

·       Abdominals (Rectus, Transverse, Internal/External Obliques)

·       Upper and Lower Back Muscles

·       Muscles that Stabilize the Hips and Shoulders

Disadvantages Of A Weak Core Muscles:

Weak core muscles can lead to increased fatigue, less endurance and poor posture. Whenever your core is weak you are more prone to injuries of the muscles and back pain which is very common.  Signs of a weak core include:

  • Low Back Pain
  • Poor Posture (tendency to slouch/slump over or your lower back arches excessively when standing or walking)
  • Bad Balance (unable to stand on one foot for at least 10 seconds)
  • You rely on your arms to get out of a chair or bed:
    • Test this by sitting in a chair then get comfortable. Once you are comfortable, stand up.  Did you use your hands to help push yourself up? If so, this can be a sign of core weakness.
  • Inability to hollow your stomach:
    • Test this by inhaling then as you exhale attempt to pull your belly button in towards your spine and hold for 10 seconds. If are unable to hold this position for 10 seconds, more than likely your core is weak.
  • Tendency to hold your breath during core exercises

Advantages Of A Strong Core:

As I mentioned before, a strong core is essential in moving more efficiently and preventing injury. Benefits of a strong core include:

  • Improved function during normal daily activities
  • Improved posture
  • Increased balance and stability
  • All of the above help to prevent injury

Exercises to Strengthen the Core:

In order to thoroughly work the core, you must perform exercises that will target all of the muscles that I listed previously. Simply performing sit-ups and crunches will not help to improve the strength and function of the core.

Below are a few exercises you can try to target all muscles of the core.

  • Plank-Beginner
  • Bridge-Beginner
  • Bird-Dog-Beginner
  • Plank w/dumbbell drag-Intermediate
  • Ball Push Away-Intermediate
  • The Boat-Intermediate

Check out the video below for examples of the all the exercises.

So now that you know the importance of a strong core and a few exercises to try it is time to start making moves to strengthen your core!

Find Health in Every Day!

Dr. Lindsay