YOU'VE probably heard of your core muscles, and you probably know that to get stellar abs, you need to work them out.
When someone decides to strengthen their core, it's usually because they want a flat stomach or a six-pack. While this is a perfectly valid reason to start training these muscles, there are plenty of additional benefits to interior strength.
? Improved Posture A weak core generally leads to chronic postural problems. Underdeveloped abdominal muscles, particularly the transverse abdominis or lower abs, contribute to a slouched posture.
Failure to strengthen these muscles lead to that protruding "stomach pooch" often visible by middle age, and over time causing a "hunchback" look. Strengthening your abdominal muscles will reverse these issues, enabling you to comfortably stand straight and tall.
? Injury Prevention
A strong core prevents injuries because it provides more support to the spine, pelvis and shoulder joints. This means the body can handle the forces of rotation and compression more easily, lessening the likelihood of back and joint injuries.
Furthermore, strong core muscles keep your whole body properly aligned, which minimizes overall harm on the body from your daily activities.
? Decrease and Prevent Lower Back Pain
Weak core muscles are often the root cause of back pain. When someone is suffering from chronic lower back pain, the first place to address is the core; muscle imbalances and poor posture result in back pain, and these conditions are caused by weak core muscles. By strengthening the stabilizing muscles, lower back pain can be eliminated.
? Increase the Ease of Everyday Activities
Core strength impacts the function of all body parts. Whether you are kicking a soccer ball or writing on a chalkboard, the motion travels through your core. This means that weak core muscles impair the function of the arms and legs, regardless of how strong the biceps or calves are. Furthermore, it seems obvious that movements like bending, twisting, and reaching rely on these muscles, but even sedentary activities like sitting are more difficult with weak interior muscles. Sitting, standing, cooking, cleaning, exercising, typing, reading, and countless other activities are all easier with stronger, more developed core muscles.
So what can you do to strengthen your core and begin experiencing these benefits?
There are several helpful pieces of exercise equipment to help you get your core in prime shape.
Doing your exercises on a Bosu ball or stability ball rather than an exercise mat or the floor forces you to add the element of balance into your routine, and thus engage your core more than you normally would.
Adding the Abdometer to your routine will ensure you are completing your core exercises with proper form and technique, and thus drastically increase how effective they are. It will also allow you to measure your core strength so you can monitor your own improvement.
Incorporating medicine ball exercises into your workout is another way to target your core, either alone or with a partner.
Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer. For further information call his office at 604-420-7800 or visit his website, karpfitness.com.
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