One of the most underrated and overlooked regions of the human body happens to be our core. It is a region of our body that we will utilize for just about every movement we make. Going from sitting to standing, picking items up off the floor, walking, lifting, running, etc. It is an area from which we generate power, increase stability, and rely upon each day. The benefits of building and maintaining a strong core consist of a long list. To name a few for you:
1. Prevent/Minimize Back Pain
2. Prevent Injury
3. Improve Balance & Stability
4. Improve Posture
When I mention the word “core” people automatically think about the abdominal musculature, or better known as the “Six-Pack Abs”. It turns out that the human core is much more complex and consists of several muscle groups both anteriorly and posteriorly on your body.
Internal & External Obliques
Complex right? Do not panic, we have you covered. Many individuals think that Sit-ups and Crunches are the answer to core strength. Those two exercises will only target a couple of the above listed muscular groups. On top of that, Sit-ups and Crunches can sometimes cause excess pressure and stress on your lower back. That repetitive excess pressure and stress will either cause lower back pain over time or increase lower back pain in individuals that already have it. The three exercises you should focus on are:
The Curl Up:
Start in the supine position (on your back). Place both hands under the arch of the lower back. Activate the core by pushing the stomach out (Do Not Suck In). Lift your shoulders off the ground, keep a neutral spine, and lower the shoulders back to the ground. Most importantly….BREATHE!
The Bird Dog:
Start in the quadruped position (on all fours). Maintain a neutral spine. Activate the core by pushing out. Simultaneously extend the opposite arm and leg away from your body. Return to the start position. Limit any side to side movement as you extend the arms and legs.
The Side Bridge:
Start on your side. The elbow and shoulder should be in a straight line with one another. Lift and hold keeping a neutral spine. No rotation in your shoulders or pelvic region. Return to the starting position.
Adding these three exercises to your routine will help develop the foundation you need to build a strong core. Focus on performing them with the correct form, and with due time you will begin to experience the benefits for yourself. Have fun with it, and as always if you have any questions or concerns reach out to us!