STRAIGHT TO THE CORE
NO, IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ABS! START PRACTISING THOSE PLANKS BECAUSE, EVEN WHEN IT COMES TO THE MOST MUNDANE OF MOVEMENTS, THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A STRONG CORE
Your core is the foundation for the strength and endurance of the rest of your body. It is, in my opinion, our most important muscle group and it lays the platform for your overall strength and execution of every compound movement that your body makes throughout the day.
It also plays a major role in injury prevention in the gym, at home and even at work.
When most people think of their core they think abs, but the core is a whole lot more than that.
It is made up of not just your abdominals, but also your obliques, your transverse abdominals, your thoracic spine (upper and lower back), your glutes, your lower lats, your hamstrings, your quads, your hip flexors, and a whole lot of little muscles that are responsible for basic movements including walking, running, riding, squatting, lunging, rowing and sitting.
A strong core can improve the execution of these movements and allow you to perform at a higher level in whatever you’re aiming to achieve in your health and fitness journey.
On the other hand, a weak or nonactive core will put excess stress on your muscles and joints and increase your risk of injury dramatically.
If anyone has experienced lower back pain, bulging disks, tight hamstrings, weak glutes, tight hip flexors, upper back and shoulder pain just to name a few, there is a very good chance that it is the result of a weakness within one or more muscles within the core.
To strengthen the core and improve your health and performance you must first identify what muscle or muscles within the group are weak so you can focus on them. A good personal trainer or physiotherapist should be able to help identify this issue. From there you can spend five to 10 minutes each day improving on these weaknesses.
A few exercises that can help activate your core and improve its strength are squats, lunges, dead lifts, planks and plank alternatives, glute bridges, hip extensions, supermans, dead bugs, Russian twists and step ups.
Once you have mastered these exercises just using your body weight (which is a lot harder than you think) you are ready to start adding weight and progressing forward.
For anyone who is confident they have mastered these exercises and want to progress further, I would highly recommended finding an awesome trainer or coach who can help design and implement a training program for you.
Joel is a personal trainer, health and performance coach and owner of JB Health and Performance. He holds a Cert III and IV in Fitness, Strength and Conditioning Cert, Advanced Nutrition. For more go to jbhealth.com.au. READ MORE AT jbhealth.com.au