Nowadays, most people spend a good portion of their lives imprisoned sitting behind a desk. This leads to weakened abdominal, pelvis, hip, and back muscles. Training your core is the best defence against the effects of too much sitting. Another plus to a strong core – improved posture and balance – which helps you have more effective workouts and prevents injury and pain.
Are you Training Wrong?
When most people think of core training they usually focus on the muscles located in the belly region (transversalis muscles). These muscles are definitely an essential part of strengthening your core, but theres so much more to it! For real benefits to a strong core one must focus on the muscles on all sides of the spine.
Heres a few Tips on How To Build Your Core:
1. Emphasize the Back Exercises.
Most people tend to start with relatively more strength in the ab muscles than in the back muscles as strengthening the back is often overlooked. Put additional focus on the back in the beginning to help your back strength catch up with the front.
2. Strengthen before Stretchin.
Many physical therapists focus on stretching to help relieve back pain, but too much stretching without strengthening the back can lead to vulnerabilities. Only add stretching once there is a base of strength established.
3. Work Groups of Muscles.
Studies show that exercises that focus on using several muscle groups simultaneously as oppose to one muscle at a time is better for us as it is more similar to day-to-day movements we do in real life. The burpee is a great example of an exercise that requires several muscle groups to fire in order to achieve.
4. Do the Flamingo!
Exercises done while standing on one leg help to strengthen the supporting leg and helps improves balance. This concept can be easily achieved by using a suspension gym. The suspension gym gives you something to hold onto while doing one-leg exercises.
5. Breathe Right.
Breathing is extremely important in abdominal exercises, not only for oxygen delivery, but also for getting a better contraction in the muscle. Breathe out on the power stroke of the movement. Exhale as you release the movement.
A great way to constantly keeping your abdominal muscles engaged is to suck your belly-button back towards your spine throughout the exercise.
6. Work your Core 3-4 Times per Week.
If youre doing strength training or any other type of full body exercise, youre absolutely working your core. But you should definitely do core focused exercises 3-4 times a week in order to have a rock hard, strong mid-section.
7. Recovery is important.
Just like any other muscle in your body, recovery time with the core is important for your muscles to build, get stronger, and actually helps burn more fat. Give yourself a day or two in between core workouts.
8. Theres no need to over do it!
Dont worry about doing 1000 crunches as fast as you can. The important thing is to have correct form and that you feel the burn. Start small and work youre way up!