Most fitness buffs opt for core strength exercises to gain washboard stomachs. While it is one of its advantages, developing your core actually benefits you in more ways than one. So, why is core strength important and why do we need to pump up the muscles in those parts? Read on and discover more about the perks of a stronger core.
Core Strength – The Essentials
Strengthening the core not only makes your body look fit – the body’s internal organs also rely on the quality of our core strength.
The muscles in our core play significant roles in digestion, facilitating the liver to release bile and other waste types plus it also encourages our cardiovascular system to work in a more efficient manner. Other direct benefits of core strength include improved posture, better efficiency, and increased stability and balance.
Those are just some of the reasons why you need to develop that core of yours. In the next part, we are going to discuss in length the benefits of strengthening core muscles.
The Benefits Of A Stronger Core
Every athlete knows a stronger core is essential because it enhances their performance. Fitness buffs also perform core strengthening exercises to attain better speed, endurance, agility, coordination and flawless movement. Like all standard fitness programs, developing your core strength is a process that one needs to do regularly before seeing tangible results of hard work.
1. It improves performing daily tasks.
Whether you are doing a lot of lifting during spring cleaning, finishing work tasks at home or standing still, those actions involve your core. Those behaviours affect your back, and having better core strength will allow you to perform such activities effectively since the core minimizes risks of back pain plus it also improves agility and movement control.
2. It enhances efficiency.
When your body’s efficiency improves, your endurance also increases. One study conducted by Hung et. al. (2019) showed that 8 weeks of core training among 21 male college athletes helped boost endurance and the running economy. This implies stronger core muscles made doing physical activities easier and also reinforced performance. Core muscles that are weak lead not only to poor strength but worst, muscle injuries.
3. It helps you gain better posture.
To improve your posture, you also need to develop your core. Weaker core muscles often lead to slouching. Undergoing strengthening exercises will also minimise wear and tear on one’s spine. Moreover, having excellent posture will also make you look more confident and trimmer.
4. It improves balance and stability.
Great balance and stability do not only benefit athletes but ordinary folks as well. Strengthening the core reduces wear and tear on the muscles thus minimizing the risk of acquiring injuries. Core strength exercises work out muscles found in the abdomen, lower back, pelvis and hips so all parts will function flawlessly. Once improved, you get to enjoy better balance and stability during fitness routines, training and daily activities.
5. It prevents back pain.
One importance of core strength is having a sound, stronger back. Engaging in core exercises will help reduce low back pain, a very common yet problematic condition that affects many people. Core exercises to prevent lower back pain can be supplemented by physical therapy, medicines and other types of treatment.
6. It improves deep breathing.
According to a study done by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, building up breathing muscles like the intercostals and the diaphragm also renders a stronger core. By having a formidable core, breathing is made much easier.
7. It helps you look fit.
Other than burning fat, core exercises also help tone and define the abdominals. Developing the core muscles builds and brings out muscles that will make you look fit and strong. For the ladies, engaging in such exercises will also help them get a slimmer waistline.
8. Core exercises can be done at home with basic equipment.
There’s no need to splurge on a gym membership or specialized equipment to do core training. There are simple exercises that engage the abs and the back muscles that you can do at home with or without standard fitness equipment.
Some of the exercises are pretty simple as well – classics like crunches, bridges and planks are fitness essentials that will get core strength going, and there’s no need for you to go to the gym to perform them.
Core Strengthening Exercises You Can Perform At Home
Reap the benefits of strengthening core muscles by starting your own regimen. You can do these exercises without using fitness equipment.
Lifting the upper body helps build your abdominal muscles. You can begin with a single set of 8 to 12 reps.
- Lie down on your back, bend the knees and place your feet on the floor or mat, aligned with the hip.
- Line up your head and spine, then cross the arms throughout the chest.
- Relax the neck and shoulders then tighten the core. Tuck the chin in and raise the upper back while keeping the feet, lower back and pelvis on the floor.
- Pause and lower the upper back bit by bit, returning to the first position
2. Bicycle Crunch
This exercise works out the hips, the obliques and the rectus abdominus. Do 3 sets of this exercise with 12 alternate reps.
- Lie down on the floor or mat. Bend the left knee and draw it towards the chest. The right leg should be straight and moderately raised off the floor.
- Position the hands behind the neck.
- Lift the right shoulder off the floor. Move the right elbow to the direction of the left knee.
- Lead the right shoulder back to the floor and extend the left leg while bending the right knee. Bring the right knee to the direction of the chest by bending it.
- Raise the left shoulder off the floor and move the left elbow to the direction of the right knee.
- Pause then repeat using the left leg and right arm.
3. Bird Dog
This one works out the back muscles and the abdominals for strength, balance and stability. Do a single set of this move with 8 to 12 reps.
- Get down on all fours with the hands below shoulders and the knees lower than the hips.
- Tighten the core then raise and straighten the right leg, up to the level of the hip.
- Lift and extend the left arm to the shoulder at the same time, with your palms down.
- Maintain a neutral spine and do not allow the back to arch whenever you extend the arm and the leg.
The bridge routine builds up the core while at the same time, toning the thighs and the buttocks.
- Lie down on your back. Bend the knees and position the feet on the floor, aligned with the hip.
- Plant your hands at the sides with your palms down.
- Tighten the glutes and core.
- Lift the hips until the knees are aligned with the shoulders.
- Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat all steps 3 to 5 times.
This exercise not only works out the core, it also reinforces the back, shoulders, legs, arms and glutes.
- Position yourself on all fours with the hands below shoulders and the knees below the hips.
- Straighten the legs at the rear while retaining the feet distanced hip-wide.
- Tighten your core and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat all steps 3 to 5 times.
6. Supine Toe Tap
This is a common exercise in Pilates and it helps develop not only the core but the hips, legs and glutes as well. Do a single set of this exercise with 8 to 12 reps.
- Lie down on your back. Raise the legs with the knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Position the hands at the sides with your palms down.
- Tighten the core and lower your right foot.
- Tap the floor gently while maintaining the left leg still and the back flat.
- Lift the right leg and go back to the beginning of the exercise.
- Do the same with the left leg.
Why is core strength important? The body relies on a strong core whether for athletic performance or everyday tasks. Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of core strength, you can now take action by performing suitable exercises and achieve a fit bod, excellent posture and improved body strength.
1. Can you gain core strength using a rowing machine?
The use of a rowing machine helps develop muscle strength, particularly the core area. It also trains the posterior chain muscles thus you will not only have a stronger core but better posture as well.
2. How to get 6-pack abs quickly?
You can develop 6-pack abs quickly by performing abdominal exercises 3 to 4 times weekly. Try crunches and planks to focus on the abdominals.
3. Do weighted vests build core strength?
Weighted vests build core strength by retaining your body upright. All that increased weight works out the core and in turn, improves the posture.