Mostly everyone has heard or used the term “core strength” at some point. But what defines core strength? Many people think that core strength means using your abs….a couple of sit-ups and you’re good to go. Unfortunately, that is not the case. If it were there would be fewer muffin tops and a lot less back pain. In the picture below I was pressing my legs and arms opposite directions into the tree, but without my core strength I would not be able to hold steady.
Core training will help you look thinner and support your spine in a way that brings more symmetry and balance to your daily activities, whether you spend a great deal of time on your feet, sitting by a desk, or preparing for long runs. We often hear the term “cross-training” when it comes to gaining results, in fact, I use the term every day. Simply doing crunches is not enough for your core. We have to cross-train our core muscles as well!
It is important to work your core muscles in all ranges of motion. Below are a few exercises to get you going!
- Plank: Lift your body off the floor with your forearms (elbows at 90 degrees in line with your shoulders). Hold for 30 seconds to start and work toward one minute. Be careful not to drop your neck and do not sink in your low back.
- Oblique Crunches: Hands behind your head (without pressure on your neck) and legs tabletop. Pull in your low belly as you lift your chest rotating right elbow to left knee. As you touch elbow to knee touch your right set of toes to the mat and bring your body back to tabletop in your starting position. Repeat 8-10 times and continue on the other side.
- Modified Side Bend: I love Pilates Side Bend, but I do have a modified exercise I like as well. Start on your right knee with the toes tucked. Left toes are parallel and facing forward, leg extended to the side. Lift the left arm and reach over to the right side lowering down to your right hand. I like to hold a block in my right hand for better alignment. Bring you body back to neutral (engaging the obliques on your left side). Repeat 3 times, then switch sides.
If you exercise and haven’t quite figured out what works for you, don’t give up! Pat yourself on the back for taking on the challenge of becoming fit! I want to challenge you to think about core strengthening in a whole new way! Cross-train that core!
Healthy Please XOXO