CORE CONDITIONING

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT ABS

To improve overall fitness, building core muscle strength is at the top of the list.

Get to the Core

 

More Than Abs

Our core includes our entire torso – except arms and legs.  You may not realize it, but your core is actually  made up of 29 muscles in your mid and lower back, pelvic floor, butt, and hips.  Together, these muscles are responsible for all your body’s movements.

Our core is the foundation for most movements we take for granted in our everyday lives.  In order to have a well-rounded fitness plan, exercises to strengthen the core are essential.  The condition of your core can have a significant impact on your ability to meet your fitness goals.

“Exercises that cause you to stabilize teach your body how to react in sports performance or life situations where you need it – running, jumping and any other situation that requires a quick reaction,” - Jon Hinds, Former NBA strength coach.

Benefits of a Strong Core

Reduces Lower Back Pain – Long hours sitting in a chair or behind a keyboard can place a lot of strain on our lower back.  By strengthening your core, you can reduce back pain or even eliminate it.

Improves Sports Performance – If you’re a runner or are into team sports, your core is what supports all the bending, twisting and lifting movements we take for granted.  Core strength is the key to being able to perform our activities and at the level we want.

Balance and Stability – Your core stabilizes your body allowing you to walk, run, jump and make any other movement without losing your balance.  Core exercises increase balance and can lessen your risk of falling.

Good Posture – Core strength isn’t just about showing off those abs.  Building your core will improve your posture giving you a more trim appearance.

 

 

 

ENHANCES BALANCE & STABILITY

CORE EXERCISES

 

REVERSE CRUNCH

Lie on the ground with hands at your sides, knees bent with feet slightly lifted and ankles crossed (knees at a 90-degree angle).  Tighten abdominal muscles raising hips toward your rib cage and curl your tailbone off the floor.  Hold for 1 to 2 seconds then slowly lower hips back to starting position.  Try 12 to 16 reps.

 

ARM AND LEG RAISE

Lie on your stomach with arms above your head.  Tighten abdominal muscles while lifting right arm and left leg.  Hold 5 seconds.  Lower arm and leg, rest and repeat with left arm and right leg. Goal should be 8 to 12 reps on each side.

Note:  Avoid arching your back.

BICYCLE

Lie with your back flat on the floor.  Put fingertips on back of your head.  Tighten your stomach muscles, lift knees up to a 45-degree angle, lift shoulder blades off the ground.  Turn upper body slightly to the left, bringing your right elbow toward your left knee while extending right leg.  Change sides, bringing left elbow toward the right knee.  Repeat slowly for 12 to 16 reps.

Note:  Avoid any pressure on the neck.

THE BOTTOM LINE

A strong core is a major benefit at any age.  No matter what your fitness goals are, core strength can help you meet those goals quicker.

 

Resources:  www.health.harvard.edu, muellersportsmed.com, mayoclinic.org

FITNESS