Core Stability

14 Feb

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What is Core Stability?

The core muscles lie deep within the trunk of your body. They are composed of the abdominal muscles, the lower back, the thoracic and cervical region of the spine. These areas work together to form a strong base of support for the whole body. They attach the spine, pelvis and muscles surrounding the scapula together. The core muscles stabilise these areas to form a firm foundation for the arms and legs to create movements. The stronger your core stability is, the more you will be able to do with your body!

 

Why do we need it?

Weak core muscles can contribute to all sorts of problems throughout the body with the most common being lower back pain and many people do not know that by simply strengthening the support from within the core, this pain can be alleviated very easily. It can also help your posture by straightening up your back which will stop you slouching so much.

Try this… stand up straight, place your hand on your lower back lightly, squeeze your stomach muscles as tight as you can and squeeze your bottom too. You should feel that your back straightens up a little bit?

Just a little exercise to show you that if your abdominals were tighter all the time, what it could do to help you with your posture!!

 

How to improve Core Stability?

Rather than lying on your back doing thousands of sit ups which quite often only work the outer core muscles, to engage the inner core we must perform functional exercises. This means exercises that use the whole body in movements that we may perform in our everyday life without realising such a lunging forward to pick something up off a low shelf!

When the body’s balance is challenged, the core will need to engage in order to prevent you from falling over. This means that doing exercises that involve lifting one leg up or standing with one in front of the other will be engaging your core to keep you upright. This is good news because it means that exercises that you previously thought were just working your legs such as squats are helping to strengthen your core as well!

Exercises that require you to hold your body in a still position such as the V-Sit or plank (see photo at the top of the post) use the core muscles to remain in that position. This is slightly less subtle than the functional exercises as the core can usually be felt as the body tires. The stronger your core muscles become, the longer you will be able to hold these positions.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for my next post in which I will give you an example of a workout that uses your core in almost all of the exercises without doing hours of sit ups.

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