What is core strength and why is it so important?
Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to all work in sync. A strong core leads to better balance and stability, both at the gym, at home, at work, with your kids, etc. It also can help you to look thinner and helps to support your spine. Core exercises are an importance aspect of a well-rounded exercise program. Aside from occasional sit-ups and push ups, core exercises are often neglected in most women’s exercise programs.
There is way more to core training than having a flat stomach and training your abdominals (abs). Core training not only includes training your abdominals, but also your back side as well. Core programs should also incorporate the deep transverse abdominis muscles, the obliques, the muscles of the lower back and your glutes.
So then, are ab exercises useless? NO! Abdominal exercises are still very important. They help you to engage your deeper core. When you start to get really good at those abdominal exercises on the ground, add in a stability challenge. Do those same exercises on a ball, or BOSU, or foam roller. Additionally, adding the BOSU to normal leg and arm exercises also allows you to add that stability challenge for additionally core work.
Having a strong core is a bit like having a firm, girdle wrapped around you, helping to protect you from your knees to your shoulders. Having a good core helps to take the strain of your everyday workouts and and everyday activities, so that the impact and load does not go directly to your bones.
What are some core exercises beyond just sit-ups?
- Planks, add in a stability challenge on a ball or BOSU.
- Side planks
- Back Extensions
- Hip lifts, with or without a band around your thighs
- Bicycle crunches
- Plank Jacks
- Dead bug and bird dogs
- Ab wheel rollouts