Thursday, 30 April 2015

Core Exercises - Why Are They Essential?

Core exercises are often misunderstood. Find out why you should do them, and why you need core strength and stability for any activity.

 Core exercises are vital in protecting your spine. Whether it's from everyday activities (e.g. lifting, twisting, bending) or sports performance, and crucially for you everything in-between.

Forget about linking core workouts with 6-pack abs. For those you need fat burning exercises. Get used to associating core exercises with your spine. That's how you'll get the best out of them.

Your core consists of your abs, back and pelvis. Why should you evenly strengthen all parts of your core?

Here are the 2 main reasons:

1) Avoid injury and back pain.. There are loads of reasons why we get back pain (see your doctor before any exercise for back pain). But most back pain is caused by muscle imbalances.

Weak lower back muscles and strong abdominals commonly lead to injuries. Combined with weak upper back muscles, you're prone to poor posture. Even worse if you're heavily overweight.

2) Improve your performance in ANY activity.. Your every movement is stabilised by the core muscles. No matter what sport or exercise you do, a strong core will give you that extra edge.

The stronger your core is, the better control you will have, meaning a higher quality and efficiency of that movement. Simply put, it'll be safer and easier to move your arms and legs faster and with more power. That equals better performance.

Core Exercises:

There are loads of exercises that work each part of your core separately. But to get started, do core exercises that work a combination of your abs, back and pelvis.

Your focus is on finding those deep core muscles, with subtle movements. Move on to more specific (and challenging) back and ab exercises, once you have control of these:

Deep Muscle Contraction..

Lie flat on your front and relax.
Keeping your back and hips still, lift your stomach up towards your back.
Focus your mind on the deep muscles.
When done correctly, this is a very small movement.
Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
Repeat 5 times.
Progress by holding it for longer each time, aim for 2 minutes or even longer.

Once you're used to this movement, practice it wherever you are (lying, sitting or standing). During everyday activities (e.g. standing in a queue), or even during other exercise (e.g. riding your bike).

That small movement is the basis of all your core exercises. Always focus on first contracting your deep core muscles, then initiating other exercise movements.


Place your forearms flat on the floor and clasp your hands (create an upside down V-shape).
Lift your body so that your forearms and feet take the weight.
Focus your mind on the deep core muscles.
Aim for a straight line between your neck and ankles.
Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
Repeat 5 times.
Progress by holding it for longer each time, aim for 1 minute or even longer.

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms by your side.
Lift up your hips, let your shoulders and feet take the weight.
Aim to keep your feet below your knees, and a straight line from shoulders to knees.
Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
Repeat 5 times.
Progress by holding for longer each time, aim for 1 minute or even longer.

You'll feel the pressure in your lower back and bottom. Focus on working your whole core to keep your hips up. Never take the weight on your neck.

Core exercises are essential for everyone, of any age and any fitness level. There's no better prevention for back pain. Do a variation of general core exercises, and specific back and ab exercisesFind Article, and you'll really FEEL the difference

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