The core is a set of multiple and complex muscles that extend beyond the abs, and really includes everything except the arms and legs. The core is used by the body in almost all types of movement and having a strong core has many benefits.

What Are The Benefits Of A Strong Core?

Women doing core exerciseHaving a strong core comes with some really useful benefits. For instance, it diminishes back pain. This is because back pain is caused when your lumbar curve grows into the wrong shape; a direct result of weak core muscles. Consequently, you develop a swayback posture. Having strong, well-balanced core muscles diminishes the strain on your spine and helps you maintain a proper posture.

Furthermore, having strong core muscles makes you a better athlete. This is because all the most powerful athletic movements originate from your core.

Finally, having a strong core balances your posture. This is because you can only have a good posture if your core muscles are strong. Weak core muscles cause your posture to become irregular.

What workouts need to be performed and what muscles should be worked to strengthen the core?

You may be surprised by what the 4 most effective workouts for optimal core strength are. Ab crunches and sit-ups can be effective, but you need to do more. In fact, to obtain a strong core, you need to exercise numerous muscle groups that are located between your hips and your shoulders.

Contrary to popular belief, abdominals only make a small contribution to a strong core. This is because abdominals only act in a very specific, and very limited manner. According to experts, the core is composed of numerous muscles that make the spine and pelvis more stable.

These muscles are to be found throughout the torso. When all of these muscles contracts, they cause the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle to become more stable, thus form a solid foundation of support.

This enables us to create powerful movements, to stand upright and to walk on our feet. It also enables us to be in control of our movements, to transfer body weight, to move in any direction and to shift energy. Having a strong core also keeps your back steady and safe.

Therefore, if you want to reinforce your core in an effective manner, you need to target all of these muscle groups: 

  • Rectus abdominis
  • Transverse abdominis
  • Hip flexors
  • Gluteus medius
  • Gluteus minimus
  • Erector spinae
  • Multifidus
  • External obliques
  • Internal obliques
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Hamstrings
  • Piriformis
  • Hip abductors

What Are The Four Most Effective Workouts For A Strong Core?

  1. The Bridge

The bridge forces you to use several muscles simultaneously and it improves core strength of all of those muscles.

How To:

To do the bridge, you need a workout mat.

1. Lie on the mat, on your back.

2. Bend your knees.

3. Make sure your back remains in a neutral position: do not arch it or push it into the floor.

4. Then, raise your hips off the floor.

5. Raise them until they are aligned with your knees and shoulders.

6. Hold this position for three counts.

7. Go back to the original position and repeat.

  1. Segmental Rotation

How To:

1. Take out your exercise mat, and lie on it on your back.

2. Bend your knees and keep your back in a neutral position, just like for the bridge.

3. Tighten your abs.

4. Bend your knees to the left.

5. Do not push your knees any further than what feels comfortable to you.

6. You should definitely feel a stretch in your core.

7. Hold this position for 3 counts

8. Go back to the starting position and repeat.

  1. Abdominal Crunch

How To:

1. Lie on your back.

2. Rest your feet against a wall, shoulder-width apart.

3. Keep your knees and hips bent at a 90° angle.

4. Tighten your abs.

5. Lift your head and shoulders up.

6. Cross your arms on your chest. Hold this position for 3 counts.

7. Go back to the original position and repeat.

  1. Superman

How To:

1. Lie on your stomach.

2. Place a towel under your hips and tighten your abs.

3. Raise your right arm and hold this position for three counts.

4. Then, raise your left arm and hold for 3 counts.

5. Repeat this exercise with your right leg, then your left leg.

6. Then, repeat the entire exercise.

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