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What is ‘Core Strength’ and why do we need it?

26th October 2011
What is ‘Core Strength’ and why do we need it?

Do you ever wonder what fitness experts like personal trainers and group fitness instructors are talking about when they say, “this exercise strengthens your core muscles?”  Ever feel too silly to ask what your core is and why we need to train it?   Here is a simple definition of the term “core muscles” and 3 reasons to train them.

Definition: Your core muscles include your abdominals, all the muscles in your hips, and the muscles that run up and down your back.

Some of them can’t be seen no matter how hard you train them because they are buried deep underneath other muscles, and therefore are often overlooked while working out.  However, your core muscles are the most important muscles to train because they are responsible for all movements made by your body!  Here are some of the benefits of being core strong:

  1. Strong core muscles provide your body with balance and stability during daily activities such as standing, sitting, bending, walking, running, carrying groceries or picking up your child.
  2. Your core muscles hold you upright by stabilizing your spine, hips, and shoulders.  A strong core leads to good posture and makes all types of activities easier.  A weak core can result in poor posture, back pain, and leave you prone to injuries.
  3. The stronger your core muscles are, the more balanced, stable, and powerful you will be during your workouts.  A strong core allows you to perform advanced exercises without getting hurt.  This is especially important when training for a specific sport.   Since all movements start with core muscles, they need to be strong enough to produce power during exercises like Plyometrics, jumping, sprinting, and Olympic weight lifting.

Most core exercises can be done at home without the use of gym equipment, so make sure you include core exercises into your workouts or while you watch television.  You can hold a plank or perform a bridge easily on commercial breaks so there is no excuse!!!   Follow the links below for instructions on how to perform planks and bridges.

eHow: How to Perform a Plank Exercise
eHow: How to Do the Bridge Core Exercise

I want to hear from you. Do you have a favorite core exercise? Post it as a comment along with a description.

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