During a session, a client of mine inquired, “Why is it so important to strengthen your core muscles?”Â Because I am commonly asked some variation of this question, I believe it would be best to answer it here on The SGE.
First of all, What ARE Core Muscles?
Core muscles are the muscles in the body’s lower and upper torso.Â More specifically, they are the muscles found at the obliques, abdominals, lower back, and glutes, which attach to the spine, pelvis, and hips.Â Core muscles are the body’s source of stability, which maintain proper posture and protect the body’s inner organs in the abdominal region.
Why are Core Muscles Important?
What many people do not know is that core muscles provide the foundation for every move your body makes.Â Â The abdominal and back muscles work together to support the spine when we sit, stand, bend over, pick things up, exercise and perform any other physical or athletic movement.Â The torso is often referred to as the body’s “power house” or central strength.Â Thus, the stronger you are in that region of the body, the easier it will be for you to carry out physical activity.
So why don’t more people focus on strengthening their core muscles?
The reason why people tend to give little or no attention to strengthening their core is that there’s nothing visually glamorous to show off and boast about.Â Many of your core muscles cannot be seen because they are buried underneath other muscles.Â Although conditioning your core involves the utilization of abdominal muscles, building core strength does not necessarily result in having a visible six-pack or a flat stomach.Â For this (very superficial) reason, although core muscles can greatly help determine how high you can jump or kick your legs, how fast you can run, and how far you can throw a ball, their development often becomes secondary to more visibly obvious muscles in your body.
So what do you do to strengthen your core?
The answer to this, my friends, can be an entirely seperate post itself (and it probably will be in the future).Â The quick answer is that participating in dance, yoga, and/or pilates training will greatly benefit anyone looking to increase their core strength.Â In any of these genres of movement it would simply be impossible not to give your core muscles a good workout.Â When you think about it, you might notice that professional dancers, yogis, and pilates practitioners generally stay fit well into old age.Â They stand straighter and have more energy at a time when many of their peers appear to be winded.
However, if I were going to suggest one exercise to perform for core conditioning IT WOULD NOT BE SITUPS OR CRUNCHES.Â Contrarily, I would highly suggest variations of PLANK POSITION (see images below).
There are many ways to perform plank position.Â If you have never tried holding this position before, you may want to consult with a professional, or at least have an exercise buddy nearby.Â Why?Â This is because maintaining the integrity of the pose is far more important than how long you are able to hold yourself up.Â As I like to say, “Working hard at something that doesn’t work, DOESN’T WORK!!!”Â Having someone with you will not only be encouraging, but they will be able to help “fix” your form.
I trust that this post has been informative enough to inspire you, my lovely readers, to further your care and conditioning of your core.