Core strength­en­ing of­fered at ‘Y’

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

Strength­en­ing the core of the body has been a pop­u­lar phi­los­o­phy in phys­i­cal fit­ness for years, and the Cov­ing­ton Fam­ily Y is join­ing the trend in 2014.

The Y is of­fer­ing a “Strength, Core and Bal­ance class” at 6:30 p.m., Thurs­days, which will be led by cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer Tracey Ashall, a fairly re­cent ad­di­tion to the Y staff.

The fo­cus of core train­ing is to build strength in the body’s core, which con­tains the pelvis and spine up through the shoul­ders, to ben­e­fit ev­ery­one through strength­en­ing the back and lim­it­ing back in­juries and to help ath­letes im­prove their per­for- mance.

“It’s not enough to just do ab crunches and sit-ups; to build a strong core you need to ex­er­cise a va­ri­ety of mus­cles,” said Ashall, who is a cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer through the Na­tional Academy of Sports Medicine. “Most peo­ple think of the core as a nice six-pack, or strong, toned

abs, but the truth is that the ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles are a very small part of the core.

“The ‘core’ ac­tu­ally con­sists of many dif­fer­ent mus­cles that sta­bi­lize the spine and pelvis, and run the en­tire length of the torso. When th­ese mus­cles con­tract, they sta­bi­lize the spine, pelvis and shoul­der gir­dle and cre­ate a solid base of sup­port. When this hap­pens, we are able to gen­er­ate pow­er­ful move­ments of the ex­trem­i­ties.

“This class ben­e­fits peo­ple from all walks of life, from some­body who sits at a desk at work all day, to ath­letes who es­pe­cially don’t do any kind of strength train­ing such as run­ners and bik­ers. This will es­pe­cially help to im­prove pos­ture and de­crease risk of in­jury,” Ashall said.

One of the big­gest ben­e­fits of hav­ing good core strength is less lower back pain and im­proved pos­ture, Ashall said.

“Weak and un­bal­anced core mus­cles are linked to low back pain. Stronger, bal­anced core mus­cles help main­tain ap­pro­pri­ate pos­ture and re­duce strain on the spine,” she said. “The big­gest ben­e­fit of core train­ing is to de­velop func­tional fit­ness; the type of fit­ness that is es­sen­tial to daily liv­ing and reg­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties.”

In ad­di­tion, core strength train­ing has in­creas­ingly been used among pro­fes­sional and re­cre­ational ath­letes. Ashall said the rea­son is be­ing stronger in the core leads to more strength ev­ery­where else.

“All pow­er­ful move­ments orig­i­nate from the center of the body out, and never from the limbs alone. Be­fore any pow­er­ful, rapid mus­cle con­trac­tions can oc­cur in the ex­trem­i­ties, the spine must be solid and sta­ble and the more sta­ble the core, the most pow­er­ful the ex­trem­i­ties can con­tract,” she said.

Ashall has been with the Cov­ing­ton Y for about six months, ac­cord­ing to the Y’s Mem­ber­ship Di­rec­tor Ka­cie Brown.

“We’ve never re­ally had any­body to that level be­fore. She has a whole bunch of cer­ti­fi­ca­tions,” Brown said.

Ashall is also a cer­ti­fied run- ning coach through the Road Run­ners Club of Amer­ica and leads a run­ning club at the Y at 8:15 a.m. on Mon­days and Wed­nes­days. Ashall said she is start­ing train­ing now for peo­ple who want to run the 10K in the Chee­rios Chal­lenge on April 19 (the Chee­rios Chal­lenge also has a 5K).

The core train­ing class and run­ning club are in­cluded in a Y mem­ber­ship.

In ad­di­tion, Ashall is of­fer­ing per­sonal train­ing ses­sions, which cost ex­tra above the monthly Y mem­ber­ship fee. Ses­sions can be pur­chased in­cre­ments of one, three and six ses­sions. A sin­gle ses­sion for a sin­gle per­son is $35, while there is a dis­count of $5 per ses­sion if you pur­chase 6 ses­sions, while two peo­ple work­ing out to­gether can get a sin­gle ses­sion for $50.

“Per­sonal train­ing pro­vides ac­count­abil­ity too,” Brown said. “The more she’s with you and more of­ten you come, the bet­ter re­sults you’ll see.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on any of the above pro­grams, call the Y at 770-787-3908 or visit in per­son at 2140 Newton Drive, Cov­ing­ton.

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

New per­sonal trainer and run­ning in­struc­tor Tracey Ashall (wear­ing the pink ‘Y’ shirt) re­cently brought her ser­vices at the Cov­ing­ton Fam­ily Y. In ad­di­tion to of­fer­ing per­sonal train­ing cour­ses and lead­ing a run­ning club, she is lead­ing a new “Core Strength and Bal­ance” group class in Jan­uary.

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