By: Bryan Ball
Before we even get started, if I asked you right now, “Where is the core of your body?” could you point it out? Some people might point at their belly or say their torso but it is actually the span from the intersection of the abdominal muscles and chest (usually around the nipple line) down to the hips, on all sides. This includes your psoas, iliacus (both being hip flexors), rectus abdominis, transverse abdominisa (your front “abs”), and your obliques (side muscles) So you may see some people going all out on basic crunches thinking they are training their core, but may actually just injuring themselves. The crunch technique we were taught in our P.E. classes, grabbing behind your head and trying as hard as you can in whatever way to get our heads to our knees, is very dangerous. When one trains the core, you are training the spine as well, so proper form is essential to a stronger midsection. Being the main stabilizer for the majority of your core helps the spine stay upright when walking, sitting, running, lifting, etc. But with our modern society and high level of sitting, looking down, and leaning forward at desks (which I’m trying not to do now), our posture is constantly challenged and muscles shorted. So our once mighty core that was challenged daily is now resting most of the day and our spine being molded to those positions daily. So the first step in anyone’s core training should be working on your posture, and learning how to keep a neutral spine.
(Ex. 1 An example of “hip hinging” and having a perfectly straight spine upright and horizontal)
Some people will unknowingly pound their front abdominals, properly, but without rest or never focusing on the rest of their core and create muscle imbalances over a long period of time. Along with that having an overall weak core puts the spine at risk for more postural changes. So by simply varying your forms or expanding you knowledge of exercises can help you get more gains in the same amount of time. Along with core exercises their are many others ways to engage ones core overall.
One option is to start a strength training program. Both calisthenics and weight training are highly beneficial for developing core strength. Moves such as push-ups, deadlifts, squats, and pull-ups are all exercises that require high core engagement. Another option is to simply add a small 10-15 minutes aside for core training every other day. Some sports such as tennis, gymnastics, many martial arts have a high level of core engagement due to the high levels of rotation and tension needed for each sport.
If you don’t know where to start luckily, you’ve found this blog and down below is 3 core exercises you can do at home, in the gym, at a hotel, wherever. As long as you can lay down flat you have enough room! Video examples our avaible on our instagram @xcelperformancebtown under the title of the blog.
- Plank Circuit 30secs each side 3x
- Oblique dips
- Mountain Climbers
- Oblique crunch
- Exercise ball pass
- Med ball twist
- Windshield wipers
- Hanging oblique crunches
- Knee raise/leg raises
- Flutter kicks