Getting to the Core of it All

by Joe Lawrence | October 7th, 2013 | Core, Strength Training

coreCore training is vital! Working the core muscles is as important as cardio for many reasons: health, ability, and self esteem.

Having a solid core region adds to your health dramatically. The larger the circumference of your mid section, the harder your body has to work to do everyday tasks. Just walking up the stairs with a spare tire can be much more exhausting than it needs to be. This makes you fatigue faster and ultimately can lead to injury and exhaustion. Although Chris Farley was quite agile, having a bigger gut can make doing routine things like even tying your shoes very difficult. Then there is the moment of truth at the beach when you unleash the beast and kids try to push you back in the water fearing you’re a beached whale.

Three things are vital to having a stronger core: diet, posture, and exercise of the right muscles.

Even though it sounds like  common sense to have a healthy diet to maintain a healthy core, it not easily done. Calories counting is like debt management and Americans are not good at either. Getting a solid system to track calorie intake makes all the difference. I used an app on my phone out of curiosity and my eyes were opened to the eating of 1,000 more calories a day than I thought I was.

Next, most of us sit horribly. We slouch in our office chairs and everywhere else we park our bottoms. When we do this, strain is being placed on the wrong areas of our core. This stress we place on muscles that are not intended to handle them can and often does lead to back pain and long term injury. The more erect we can sit, the more favors we are doing for our spine and future chiropractor bills. I tend to fall right back into my slouching slump after a few moments of sitting straight. So what I do is adjust my chair in a way that is only tolerable by sitting properly. When I have it tilted back, the temptation is too great.

Anyone serious about core training is often quick to do some ab work and crunches galore. Many even work the obliques and walk away thinking they are good. However, most ignore the lower back. Working opposites when training is important. If all the attention goes to the abs, even more stress and strain is placed on the lower back and the weaker muscles can’t take it leading to more injury and long term pain. Some great gym exercises are deadlifts, squats, lower back machines, and hanging from a hyper extension bench. At home lay on your stomach; have someone hold your feet; and bend backwards looking towards the ceiling. Another great one is the Superman plank where you lay on your stomach and bring your legs and arms towards the ceiling like you’re flying.

There are numerous benefits to caring for your core and you should make it a top priority.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.