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You probably picture someone doing a ton of crunches to build their muscles when you think of someone with a strong core. However, gaining abdominal strength has benefits that go far beyond aesthetics, as it can simplify daily activities and enhance general well-being. Although having a strong core can be a motivating objective, it goes deeper. Your core, after all, consists of much more than just your abs.
With so many core exercises to choose from, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for you. Read on to learn more about building strength, warm-ups, and workout moves for your core from Personal Trainer David Hughes.
Purpose of Building Core Strength
The two primary purposes of the core muscles are to transfer force from the lower body to the upper body and vice versa and to protect the spine from excessive strain. Our ability to perform at our best and avoid injuries is made possible by having a strong, solid core.
Forward bending, side-to-side bending, and excessive rotation can contribute to spinal injuries. Back injuries are typically caused by an excessive load with poor mechanics rather than a single incidence (such as lifting something heavy). Ideally, as we move, run, leap, toss, lift objects, and distribute force throughout our bodies, we want to establish 360 degrees of stiffness surrounding the spine to protect it. We can do this when the muscles in our hips, torso, and shoulders cooperate.
Here are some benefits of having a strong core:
It helps improve posture. Working on your core strength will help your spine become more straight, giving you a little more height when you stand, sit, and walk. Additionally, you will breathe more easily with improved posture.
It reduces low back discomfort. Based on research, having weak core muscles can raise your chance of suffering from both injuries and backaches. If you have acute or chronic lower back pain, core-strengthening exercises can help ease your discomfort, increase your mobility, and enhance the support of your spine.
It helps avoid injuries. We frequently believe that our limbs are doing the work when we run a marathon or stroll to the refrigerator. Truthfully, our cores are where most movement originates. Your emotions will be more powerful and pain-free if your core is firmly established.
Warm-up Exercises for Your Core
It is tempting to skip your warm-up when you're in a rush, but don't! Warming up is an important part of any workout, and it's especially important for core workouts.
Sam Stauffer, Coach for Men's Health Thrive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says that your warm-up is crucial because it gives you a chance to wake up your muscles so you can complete each exercise with maximum muscle contractions and a full range of motion. Additionally, it will lower your risk of getting hurt. Even though you may merely be warming up, you are still working.
Perform these 3 movements in the sequence listed as a warm-up to get your six-pack burning throughout the rest of your workout:1. Bear crawl
2. Body saw
3. Bird dog
These easy warm-up exercises will help engage your central nervous system and improve performance before a core workout. Moreover, experts say it will boost the circulation of blood and oxygen and increase body temperature to prepare the muscles for core strengthening.
Core Muscle Workouts For Better Strength
Workouts for a stronger core can be done effectively with little to no equipment. These abdominal strengthening exercises will strengthen your rectus and transversus abdominis muscles, as well as your back, obliques, and other abdominal muscles.
Flutter kicks are without a doubt a fantastic approach to improving strength and stability in the core. This workout helps shed extra fat from the belly, hips, and problem regions that many struggle with.
Here's how to do it:1. Lay down on your back flat to the mat. Tuck your hand underneath your buttocks with thumbs touching to support your back.
2. Raise both feet in hover and raise your neck, shoulders, and head a little bit off the floor if you can.
3. Begin kicking your legs alternately up and down. Keep your core motionless and flutter your legs at a pace you can sustain. Remember: the slower, the better! For a higher intensity, sit in V-position and carry on with flutter kicks.
4. Flutter for 90 seconds or how long you prefer. For three sets of 90-second flutter kicks, repeat.
Benefits• The up-and-down motion has your abs working hard to manage your legs, pelvis, and core.
• It helps to loosen tight hips and increase hip mobility.
• Flutter kicks improve blood flow to the muscles which helps to keep them warm and supple
• It helps develop lower abdominal muscles important for better posture.
Tips• If you want to up the intensity level of this exercise, you can continue after 90 seconds. Keep your neck and shoulders on the floor and perform the exercise with just your knees raised if you are dealing with any neck or shoulder problems or injuries.
• Bend your knees slightly rather than keeping them straight if you have any issues with your lower back or hips. Put a tiny cushion under your lower back for greater support in your lumbar spine.
Crunches are the ideal supplement to help your abdomen become stronger and more toned. You may try a ton of different variations of the exercise to mix up your workout and train every core muscle.
Here's how to do it1. Lay flat with your back. Place your feet flat on the ground hip-width apart. Put your hands on your thighs.
2. Exhale and raise your upper body while maintaining a relaxed neck and head. Your hands should pass your knees and your chin tucked. You should feel the core working as you do this.
3. Hold each rep for a few seconds. After taking a breath, reset to the starting position.
Benefits• Crunches are best to do if you're attempting to achieve a six-pack for it only targets the abdomen.
• This exercise helps increase muscle mass and improve the body's capacity to burn fat effectively.
• It helps develop the muscles in your abdominal cavity, which assists in improving balance.
• This workout move can be often used by beginners.
Tips• Always make sure to raise your upper body, engage your core. You run a higher risk of getting hurt if your head or neck is the source of the movement. Imagine curling and lifting upward as you exhale, bringing your ribs to your pelvis.
• Your neck may get sore if you put your hands behind your head. You should only attempt this hand placement once you have learned the correct form. You'll achieve better ab activation by performing crunches more deliberately and slowly. Performing one crunch in a controlled manner should last a few seconds.
The hollow hold is the only exercise you need if you want to work your entire core, including your obliques, six-pack, and deep stabilizers. It may be difficult to master, especially when it comes to keeping proper form.
Here's how to do it:1. Begin by lying on your back with your legs straight on the mat and your arms overhead.
2. Lift your head, shoulders, arms, and legs off the ground at the same time while maintaining control. Try if you can have your buttocks be the only part that’s in contact to the floor. Make sure to point your toes. If this is too intense, you can place your arms to the sides, or tucked them behind your shoulders or bend your knees while in this position.
3. Return to your starting position after holding for 20 seconds. Take a 10-second break.
Benefits• The hollow grasp also helps you posture, which is another advantage.
• The muscles in your lower back that stabilize it during physical activity and daily motion are strengthened by the hollow hold.
• Having evenly developed glutes, hip flexors, and abdominal muscles helps to maintain appropriate spinal alignment and prevents stress on the discs and vertebrae.
• Since you'll be strengthening the muscles that support your trunk, it can aid in the prevention of lower back problems.
Tips• Avoid bending your back. Even if you have to lift your arms and legs higher until your core is stronger, keep it glued to the mat. The key to performing this move effectively is a solid back. Place your hands overhead while lying on your back to conduct the hollow hold. Your toes should be pointy, and your feet should be close together.
• Flex your abdominal region and drag your ribs into your pelvis to strengthen your entire core. Your lumbar spine region, which roughly corresponds to the bottom third of your spine from the tailbone to the mid-back area, should be the only point of touch throughout each hold.
It is advised to consult with a fitness expert or have a personal trainer to ensure safety and good technique in order to build a core stability program that will produce beneficial results.
When beginning a core strengthening regimen, keep in mind your physical condition and level of fitness. Everyone can benefit from a stronger core. So, prepare to engage your core and enjoy the advantages of a toned and fit body with Coach David’s core workout recommendations!
Learn more about David here:
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