Strengthening Your Core!
Some individuals have the mentality that their abs are okay with random, sporadic workouts. Others wait on seasonal diets before making their core the center of attention. No doubt about it, some often give up on their mid section because they don’t see the results soon enough. Hmmm...Could it be because of unrealistic goals? You cannot optimize ab and core strength with just a seasonal or sporadic crash course. These muscles need to be your holy chalice, your epicenter year round.
The core is a complex system of muscles connecting the lower body and upper body. Building a strong core is a major step in achieving optimal gains throughout the entire body. While training, many individuals often under train the neck and calves. One essential area of the body also frequently neglected is the mid section. A quality workout regimen should always consist of some type of abdominal (ab or core) training.
As a trainer, a rule of thumb for my clients, depending on the individual, is to attempt a customized series of challenging core exercises that emphasize both strength (amount of force a muscle group can generate for a desired movement) and stability (resistance with imbalance during acceleration or movement disruption) at the beginning of their workouts.
Why? Glad you asked. For some people they are either under time restraints and are unable to target and complete desired workouts. For others they are too fatigued at the end of their workouts to execute a quality abdominal regimen. For you fitness enthusiasts, keep in mind, a strong core is significant for cranking out and transferring maximum power and efficiency. Other benefits of having a strong core:
-Increased overall strength
-Improves balance and stability
-Reduce stress and strain on the joints and bones
Epicenter Of The Body
Core stability is not only for athletes. Nearly every movement originates and relies on the core, even the most minute and mundane unnoticed actions rely on the core. You don’t realize it until they become painful or difficult. Just recently, in conversation with a colleague while preparing an ab workout for clients, he indicated he never realized how much he relied on his core until he experienced a rib injury. He remembered how difficult it was to twist his mid section just to roll out of bed, not to mention the difficulty running or jogging.
We all rely on our core muscles more than you know. Even though you may have 6% percent body fat, you can still be fluff around the middle. Don’t take them for granted. The core is essentially the underpinning that absorbs and transitions force with nearly every movement whether under a load or for resistance and rotation. For instance:
Normal Daily Motions: Sitting in a chair, putting on shoes.
Job duties: Twisting, lifting.
Leisure and Pleasurable Activities: Volleyball, Swimming, Tennis, and Golf. Yes a weak core can cause a weak shot off the tee.
Landscaping, Cleaning: Cooking, Bending, lifting, even mopping are motions that rely and pass through the core.
Make no bones about it, regardless of age or fitness many injuries are often associated with an unbalanced midsection. Although building a stronger core is more than just sit ups and leg raises, it doesn’t require a garage or house full of gadgetry and devices either. Once you understand the importance of developing a strong core with a comprehensive training regimen it is easier to determine which of the nine hundred and one core exercises are worth your time and efforts.
Tips: How do you develop a stronger core? Think outside the box.
- The core is more than leg raises and crunches. Implement a new variety of ab challenges to your regimen. For instance do sit ups with 10lbs, 25lbs, or 45lbs plates. For beginners modify 3-4 body weight ab exercises that work for you, focusing on just your obliques and rectus abdominis.
- Consistency and Recovery… Do not over train. Try to focus on your mid section as much as your other body parts. An excellent time for ab exercises is during the midpoint of your workout.
- Core Strength and Core Stability… In building and defining your core, if possible, try to include a variety of ab exercises that offer both.
- Supersets… Not everyone has two hours in their day for workouts. If you are under time restraints modify your ab exercises into a compact superset (combine your different ab workouts into one, with very little rest between sets and exercises).