YOUR BODY’S POWERHOUSE: THE CORE

“Abs, Abs, Abs!” 

“Swimsuit Season is HERE”

“Foods to Eat for a Flatter Belly”

“Do More Crunches”

We see titles and sayings like this EVERYWHERE! Does seeing these titles and posts actually motivate you? Yeah, maybe looking good in a bikini or shirtless does motivate you…but having a strong core goes far beyond looking good at the pool. Having a strong core is crucial, and here is why! 

 

THE POWERHOUSE:

Your core is the powerhouse for your entire body. Your core facilitates all movements for your body. Not only that, but it is also the home for all of your internal organs and your central nervous system. All movements begin with your core, so essentially your core helps you to do EVERYTHING! Strengthening your core helps to strengthen your back (your back muscles are a part of your core) which helps to reduce back pains. 

Being strong does not necessarily mean you have a strong core. It is important to start from the inside out and BUILD A STRONG CORE! It is all about the foundation.

 

Core Strengthening Exercises: 

Not sure where to start? Below are some simple core exercises plus a chart of core workouts. Check out Pinterest for more core workout ideas, there’s plenty out there! 

 

Side Plank Hip Dips:

  1. Start in a side plank, resting on your right forearm, body forming a straight line, left foot stacked on top of right.

  2. Lower your hips a few inches, lift hips to return to starting position. 

  3. Do 15-20 reps on each side.

 

Oblique Pulse Crunch:

  1. Start lying on your back, knees bent. Crunch to bring shoulders off the ground, with your left arm reaching toward your left foot and right hand supporting your head.

  2. Do 20 pulses, bringing your left-hand closer to your left foot with each pulse.

  3. Repeat in the other side. 

 

Upper Abs Pulse Crunch:

  1. Start lying on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.

  2. Engaging your abs, lift your chest forward into a crunch, bringing shoulders off the ground.

  3. Reach your arms forward in between legs. Pulse, reaching forward and lifting higher off the ground with each rep.

  4. Do 20 reps. 

 

CORE STABILITY:

 

What is Core Stability? 

Stability is defined as remaining unchanged even in the presence of forces that would normally change the state or condition…just apply this definition to the core region and there you have it, core stability. It is important to constantly be challenged and switching it up when it comes to anything, but especially your core. Simply, the more balanced and coordinated your muscles are, the less likely you will be injury-prone because of a certain pressure or force.

An awesome tool you can use at the gym to help build your core stability is a workout ball. When using a workout ball for core strengthening, it is pretty self-explanatory. You can pretty much do any plank or crunch exercise on the ball. I seriously suggest giving it a try, it can be really challenging if you never have before! 

Another great tool is called a bosu. A bosu is a half-shaped ball, attached to a flat surface or frame (Pictured at the beginning of the Core Stability section). A bosu is great for core strengthening because it can be extremely challenging to balance on the bosu. Simply start by standing on one leg on the bosu for 20 seconds. Be sure to work both legs and build up to more extended periods of time. 

Other great ways to strengthen your core are by doing yoga or Pilates. They are both awesome practices that require you to engage your core. Give it a try! 

 

COMMIT TO IT!

Having a strong core is not something that is going to come easy. It is going to take time and it is going to take A LOT of discipline. This does not mean you have to do a thirty-minute ab workout six days of the week. No, not at all. Simply start small. 

Do you watch TV? During commercials drop down to the floor and do some crunches or a plank set. Get your significant other or your whole family in on it too! It does not have to be extensive, just commit to it. If you only have five minutes that is great. JUST DO IT! Tack it on to the end of your workout at the gym or do it after you go for a run or walk. You just have to start somewhere! 

Taking care of your core is important for the entirety of your health. Stop neglecting those abs! 

We all need to have a strong foundation. It is time to crunch it out! 

Thank you for reading!