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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - FEATURE - JOEL BRAD­FORD

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

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