Why You Need To Build A Strong Core: Benefits and How To Strengthen The Abdominals
We all love the appearance of well-defined abs. In fact, strong abdominals shouldn't be a luxury, but rather, a necessity that promotes good health.
And yet, most of us struggle badly in this area. Why is that the case? One major reason is MISINFORMATION. The stereotype perpetuated is that you need to perform a kazillion crunches to get abs that are strong, and in some cases, well-defined and visible.
What if we told you that this is a lie?
We all have abdominal muscles under those love handles. And they are important.
What do they do? This blog post discusses why they are important, will give a little refresher about anatomy, and will help you forge yourself a commendable set of abs yourself.
Eager to read on? We knew you would be.
Refresher: Quick Core Anatomy Lesson
Your core muscles are not composed of a singular muscle, but rather a group of muscles located throughout your mid to lower abdomen and back. There are actually 29 pairs of muscles that make up the entire core complex, although most people think of the 6-pack as an isolated entity.
- Rectus Abdominis: Also known as the "six-pack," the rectus abdominis is a long, flat muscle that runs vertically down the front of the abdomen. It is responsible for flexing the lumbar spine and assisting in respiration.
- External Oblique: The external oblique muscle is located on the sides of the abdomen and runs diagonally down from the ribcage to the pelvis. It helps with rotation, flexion, and lateral bending of the trunk.
- Internal Oblique: The internal oblique muscle is located below the external oblique and runs in the opposite direction, from the pelvis to the ribcage. It also assists with trunk rotation, flexion, and lateral bending.
- Transverse Abdominis: The transverse abdominis is the deepest muscle in the abdominal region and wraps around the waist like a corset. It helps to stabilize the trunk and support the spine.
- Erector Spinae: The erector spinae is a group of muscles that run along the spine and assist with extension, rotation, and lateral bending of the trunk. It helps to maintain proper posture and stability in the back.
- Multifidus: The multifidus muscle is a small, deep muscle located along the spine. It helps to stabilize the spine and support movement in the lower back.
Why You Need A Stronger Core
Building a stronger core is an excellent way to help improve posture. Your core includes the muscles around your lower back and abdomen, and strengthening them helps support your spine and upper torso correctly. A strong core also helps the body resist any forces that try to push it out of optimal alignment since these muscles act as stabilizers.
When your core is weak, however, this instability can cause poor posture that affects many aspects of life by creating bad habits such as slouching or hunching which can then lead to chronic pain and muscular imbalances.
Furthermore, good posture supports better breathing and improved circulation, allowing oxygen-rich blood to reach the cells more efficiently while helping decrease fatigue. Improving your daily behaviors related to posture such as consciously standing up straight or sitting down properly can also contribute towards keeping correct upright composition.
Creating healthy habits related to posture will provide a positive effect over time when combined with consistently strengthening your core through activities like yoga, pilates, and planks. These tools work together for optimal results in remaining aware of body positioning and developing endurance in order to achieve better overall balance and support, making it easier for you to maintain good posture even during long periods of sitting or standing.
Improves Your Stability And Balance
To achieve stability and overall balance, having a strong core is essential for successful activities ranging from sports to everyday tasks. The core muscles are like a main hub--they securely connect the lower body's power-producing muscles with the upper body's range-of-motion muscles.
Core strength increases spinal support, allowing us to move in multiple directions without losing balance. Core exercises can help us stay upright while bending, stretching, and twisting, while also relieving pain through better alignment of our bones and joints. The improved balance enables athletes to stay on their feet longer and perform more formative movements safely. Ultimately, having control of our bodies leads to greater participation in all life has to offer.
It Supports Good Form While Running
Do you remember the first time you went running? It probably was a miserable experience. This can be worse if you are out of shape- especially where your core is concerned.
Your core is an essential part of running or jogging with proper form. When your core is strong, you are able to keep your upper body properly aligned and positioned during the entire run.
This helps promote proper responses from the legs, giving them the necessary stability they need to generate greater power when pushing off the ground. Could you imagine the uncoordinated mess you'd be if you weren't able to elicit the usual responses and momentum while running?
Additionally, having a strong core helps with breathing properly while running. If you can maintain proper posture while running, you can ensure that your lungs get optimal oxygen levels which increases endurance and performance on those long runs or intense sprints. Investing time and effort in building up your core strength could be one of the best decisions for runners who are looking for improved form and performance.
Helps Safeguard Your Abdominal Organs
Strengthening the core has many positive benefits, including protecting the internal organs from harm. By strengthening the muscles of stabilization and the deep abdominal muscles, an individual's center of gravity is better balanced which in turn gives them greater stability and control during everyday activities.
Hernias are extremely common and often the result of a weak core. While hernias are not always preventable, having strong abdominal muscles helps to decrease the risk of developing one.
Stronger muscles also help to protect their internal organs by keeping them in their correct position and providing an improved level of support during movements and physical activity. Additionally, greater levels of strength in a person’s core muscles can help to absorb shock or force that might otherwise impact on their internal organs, which could potentially cause tissue damage or other complications.
It Makes Everyday Life Easier
Did you know that building a stronger core can be incredibly beneficial for your life? Not only does it give you more confidence in how you look and feel, but having a strong core can actually make many of your everyday activities much easier.
From carrying grocery bags and taking the stairs with ease to playing sports or doing household chores, having a strong and stable core makes all the difference. It helps keep our posture better and also gives us additional strength for strenuous tasks like lifting heavy objects or even running errands around town.
Feeling physically energized on a regular basis helps to improve mood and sleep quality as well, which will positively impact your overall daily life. With strong cores come stronger bodies and healthier lifestyles so investing time in core-building exercises is time well spent.
It Can Reduce or Prevent Pain
Developing a strong core is essential in preventing and reducing potential pain. The core consists of muscles that stabilize the spine, aiding the back to stay healthy while performing everyday activities. Core strengthening exercises stimulate the deep muscles that run along the spine and abdomen, allowing them to work together more effectively. This makes them grow stronger while helping protect and support the spine from developing any discomfort or chronic pain. Additionally, building a proper foundation with a secure core can prevent us from overcompensating with other muscles during physical activity, reducing the risk of further injury or strain.
Including planks, bridges, ab exercises, yoga poses, Russian twists, and side bends into our exercise regimen can quickly improve our posture and enhance the flow of abdominal breathwork - all of which ultimately help reduce pain associated with weak cores. Research shows that providing consistency through daily habits such as stretching regularly and increased activity to improve strength in the core can also help alleviate pain. Overall, it's clear that building upon a strong core helps keep our body balanced and in alignment; making us both feel better physically and look better aesthetically!
It Boosts Power Generation
Regardless of your experience level, if you lift heavy weights (or are desirous of doing so), you won't get far without really building that core. Enhancing core strength directly translates to improved power output, as it provides a larger percentage of your body’s muscles with stability and coordination which leads to more speed and power in movements.
Working on increasing core strength can also reduce the likelihood of injury, due to improved balance and posture offering more transfer of the force generated within an athlete’s body.
Always remember that the core should be considered a bridge between the upper and powerful muscles of the lower body and can help generate and transfer a massive amount of power.
We recommend supplementing with Foundation, a powerful mix of creatine and Peak ATP to help you smash PRs and keep moving forward from strength to strength.
Allows Better Aging
Building a stronger core is an essential part of aging well. This means taking the time to work on strengthening the muscles in your abdomen, back, pelvis, and hips from a relatively young age. This kind of routine will help aid posture which can prevent chronic pain as we get older.
Core strength also supports our balance, agility, coordination, and overall mobility. As we age, our bones and joints become weaker over time so incorporating exercises such as planks and bridges can help strengthen those weak areas so that we can move more confidently and freely throughout our lives.
Poor core strength and low muscle mass are directly related to your risk of fractures and falls, conditions that impede mobility and pave the way for rapid aging and physical deterioration.
Don't allow your freedom to be taken away; a little core exercise can go a far way.
Combined with Radiance Collagen peptides, you are likely to maintain your independence for decades to come.
You’ll Achieve A Slimmer Waistline
Exercise is the ultimate key to a slim waistline. Building stronger core muscles is the perfect way to start your journey to having that slim midsection you’ve always dreamed of. Training the core helps create a strong base, which supports good posture, which in turn can do wonders for making you look more slender immediately.
Core exercises such as crunches, planks, and Russian twists help tighten your midsection by toning the abdominal and oblique muscles, giving you a much more defined shape. Regular core workouts also help minimize fat storage in the midsection, so you don't have to work as hard to keep it off once achieved.
Of course- it should go without saying that you also need to consume a healthy diet with lots of plant-based foods and fiber- right in Field of Greens' neck of the woods!
Best Exercises To Strengthen Your Core
Forearm (Standard) Plank
The Forearm Plank is one of the most basic and effective core exercises. It works by engaging your abdominal muscles, back muscles, shoulders, arms, and legs to hold yourself in a plank position against gravity for an extended period of time. To perform this exercise, start by getting into a push-up position and then lower your elbows to the floor until your forearms are flat against the floor. Make sure to keep your spine and neck in a straight line while tightening your abs, glutes, and quads, and hold the position for at least 30 seconds or as long as you can.
Side Planks are one of the best core exercises for targeting your obliques and giving you a slimmer waistline. To perform this exercise, start on your side with your feet together and prop yourself up on one forearm so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Make sure to keep your neck in line with your spine and hold the position for 30 seconds or as long as you can. You can also increase the intensity of this exercise by raising and lowering your hips while in the plank position.
The Russian Twist is a great core exercise for strengthening your obliques, lower back, and hip flexors. To perform this exercise, sit down with your feet flat on the floor and hold your arms out in front of you. Then twist your torso from side to side while keeping your legs still. Make sure to keep your back straight and contract your abs as you perform the exercise for 30 seconds or as long as you can. You can also increase the intensity of this exercise by holding a weight in your hands.
Mountain Climbers are one of the best exercises for strengthening your entire core. To perform this exercise, start in a push-up position and then rapidly alternate bringing each knee up towards your chest while keeping your abs tight. Make sure to keep your spine and neck in a straight line while switching feet and hands. Continue the exercise for 30 seconds or as long as you can. You can also increase the intensity of this exercise by adding a jump at the end of each rep, in burpee fashion.
The Bridge is an effective core exercise that helps improve your lower back stability and strengthens your glutes and hamstrings. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, lift your hips up off the ground while squeezing your glutes and keeping your spine straight. Make sure to keep your abs contracted and hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as you can. You can also increase the intensity of this exercise by supporting a weight against your hips as you perform the movement.
Ah yes, no list for core training would be complete without the crunch, right? Crunches are one of the most fundamental exercises for targeting your abdominal muscles. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, contract your abs and lift your shoulders off the ground while keeping your neck in line with your spine. Make sure to hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. To increase the intensity of this exercise, you can hold a weight against your chest as you crunch up.
And please- don't ever be of the opinion that you need to perform hundreds of these exercises daily to achieve a strong core. Doing so is actually counterproductive and can lead to injury or stagnation.
Jackknives are a great core exercise that targets your entire abdominal region, including the rectus abdominus, obliques, and transverse abdominis. To perform this exercise, start by lying on your back with your legs extended straight and arms overhead. Then use your abs to lift both your head and feet off the ground simultaneously while keeping your arms and legs straight.
Make sure to hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. You can also increase the intensity of this exercise by adding a weight or holding your arms in a static position throughout the exercise.
Owing to the difficulty of this movement, it might be best reserved for the future as you build up decent core strength.
Far too many people neglect strengthening their core muscles, and sometimes, only start working on them after something goes wrong.
It doesn't have to be that way. You aren't mandated to do dozens upon dozens of crunches or several minutes of planks. Start small- even if you can only manage to do the plank for 10 seconds.
Work on those muscles twice weekly and in 12 weeks you'll feel completely transformed.