Core Strength

Clients often come to me with their #1 goal being to strengthen their core. This is a good goal because these muscles play a key role in every activity you do – they keep your spine safe and body aligned when you’re sitting at your desk, completing chores and while working out.

There are a few things about the core, that you should know:

fitness61. The core is more than your ab muscles. It’s everything from your pelvic muscles all the way up to your diaphragm. In the front, it’s the rectus abdominis (the ‘6-pack’) + obliques (side abs) + transversus abdominis (deep core). In the back, it’s your spinal extensors (cord-like muscles running along spine) + quadratus lumborum (deepest abdominal muscles connecting ribs to hips) + the glutes (butt).
2. You should complete exercises specifically for your abs. I usually design 15 minutes of each 1 hour workout for my clients, with on a focus on the abs and back. We do a wide variety of exercises including crunches, scissor kicks, lower ab leg lifts, heel taps, rows and Superman. Core strength leads to improvements in other exercises. A solid core will: assist you with staying upright longer during squats; help you perform heavier (and safer) deadlifts; give you better stability with overhead presses and provide you with better alignment while running. This strength helps prevent injury and improves posture too.
3. A strong core doesn’t always equal a flat stomach. How lean your stomach is, has a lot to do with your nutrition, in addition to the strength of your abdominals. You can have really strong abs and have no visible 6-pack.
4. A strong core is required for lower back health, but, it doesn’t necessarily lead to it. You may still have lower back pain with a strong core; back pain can be attributed to many factors. The most common causes of lower back pain include lack of core endurance, hip mobility and glute strength.

In summary, the core is an important area to focus on but it shouldn’t be done so in isolation. Be sure to workout all areas of your body. Reach out to Build a Fit Physique if you’d like to learn how to develop a safe, total body fitness routine.