If you’ve glanced at any health magazine at the grocery store recently, you’ve probably seen a headline about easy tricks to a stronger core. But have you stopped long enough to find out what your core is? Do you know how core strength can help with your overall physical health?
What is the core? A common misconception is that your core only consists of a person’s abs. But when physical trainers of any kind are referring to your core, they are actually referencing up to 7 different muscle groups: the rectus abdominis, erector spinae, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, multifidi, and quadratus lumborum. These are the muscles that are in charge of bending you forward and backward at the waist, stabilizing your spine, and connecting your back to the rest of your body. That is why core strength is so crucial to long-term spinal health and can be the cure for major back, shoulder, and neck pain.
How do I get core strength? You activate and strengthen your core in any exercises that include the following:
- You have to hold your center steady: This includes any exercises that call for a straight spine for good form, such as planks or push-ups.
- You alternate your weight to one leg or one arm: As your body adjusts to the redistribution of your weight, your core is activated to help you balance. This can also apply to weight training on one side of the body at a time.
- You are twisting at the waist: Since your core consists of all the muscles surrounding your waist, any exercises involving the twisting of your body to a different angle will help bring your core into play.
What should I avoid in core strength training? As easy as core exercises may sound, too often you may think you’re getting a good core workout when actually you’re setting your body up for injury. Make sure that you are actively engaging your core muscles when approaching a core workout, which means you should feel muscles tighten in your abs, back, and glutes. Also adjust your spine to a neutral position until it feels straight with no natural curve. This means both your shoulders and hips should be in line with each other.
Want to learn more about how to increase your core strength and overall physical health? Contact Choice Rehabilitation today! We specialize in helping you maintain a healthier life and a happier you.