The core of the human anatomy is a vital part of our frame. It houses the most important organs in the body and it is much more than just your abs. In fact, another way to look at it is to take away arms and legs, and what remains is the core.
So why should you train it? We're giving you 6 reasons to make sure that it becomes the 'core' of your training
1. Increase Strength
If you're looking to get stronger, you should be looking at how you train your core. A weak core will cause you to exhibit imbalances and involuntary movements during exercises that could lead to injury and poor technique. For example, if you find it difficult to feel comfortable at the bottom of a squat and find yourself rocking forwards, this could be a sign that you need to focus on your core.
By working on your core, you'll notice that your strength increases. This is because all of your accessory muscles are now engaged in helping you execute that lift. So whether it's squatting, deadlifting or a variation of an Olympic lift, the amount you're able to lift is directly related to how strong your core is. Strengthen your core, and it will strengthen your lift.
The gradual increments in weight should be proportional to how you feel your core can handle that weight. If you struggle to maintain form during a lift, the chances are that your core isn't sufficiently developed to handle the load. So train smart, load appropriately and only lift what your core feels comfortable with.
2. Improve posture
Think about daily tasks you do in your life, and you'll realise that most of them happen whilst your sitting down. Working at your desk, driving and even going to the toilet!
All of these muscles result in your core muscles switching off. And when your core muscles are switched off, we tend to slouch and that can cause further problems with posture. As we get older, we'll pay the price for poor posture so why not take advantage of the time we have.
So next time you're working at your desk, take a moment to correct your posture. Sit upright, straighten your back, and align your neck. Think about how much of your core is required to do this. You'll find by engaging your core, it almost pulls your body into a good postural position.
So the more you train your core the better your posture will be.
3. Reduce the Risk of Injury
Back pain, neck pain, spasms, hip flexor injuries are just some of to most common injuries one can expect to encounter when training. The chances are that these potential injuries are all related to an inefficient core and you could help mitigate your chances of injury by improving it.
It's quite easy to overlook the training of your core, as it requires dedicated time and effort by isolating the stabilising and mobilising muscles within the lumbopelvic-hip complex. Strengthening these different muscle groups in the core results in a more harmonious of the body, it becomes more balanced and you're able to exert greater control over your movements and so reduce the risk of injury.
So a program that starts with control of the stabilising muscles, moving to stabilisation exercises, and then progressing to dynamic functional activities is a good routine to start to improve your core.
4. Improve Sports Performance
Running, jumping, agility, speed... all have a basis in how efficiently your core can adapt to the demands of the activity you're doing.
A recent study determined that there was a correlation between the ability of an athlete to demonstrate increased output of force if they performed higher at particular athletic performance measures like
- 1 repetition maximum (1RM) squat
- Squat @ kilograms/body weight
- 1RM bench press
- Bench press @ kilograms/body weight
So in short, if you want to perform better at your discipline then you should really pay attention to your core when training
5. Improving Balance
So you know that you're strong. Your squat and deadlift tell you that. But you also know your balance is terrible. Have you ever thought that it could be your core that's letting you down?
Try yoga and Pilates. This may sound ridiculous at first but you'll soon realise its way harder than you think. And if you like challenges you'll want to get better at it. Furthermore, when you realise the benefits it adds to your ability to balance and added health benefits then you won't want to stop.
If yoga is a touch too far for you the consider basic gymnastic works into your workout. If you can't already handstand, start a progression programme to help you learn. It's something you can do at your own pace and in the comfort of you own home too.
6. Because... Abs
If there was ever an aspirational body goal that everyone would admit to, it would be to have a solid set of abs, all year round!
Well let us dispell this myth! EVERYONE has abs! But the difference from one person to the other of how much body fat is covering them. The second difference is how much work people put into training their core. So dont ignore your core work. If you're dieting to revela your abs, put in some work to give symmetry
Do you have any specific core workouts and reasons for doing them? We'd love to hear from you!