Is working your core a “waist” of time? The answer is NO! The term “core” is thrown around so much in the fitness community – ”tighten your core, engage your core, work the core”. But, what does it really mean to work your core and how important is it in your fitness routine (and what exactly is the core)?
Our core comprises of a system of muscles in the lower-trunk area, including the lower back, abdomen and hips. These muscles work together to provide support and give mobility to our body. A strong core is crucial to keeping your body functionally sound and operating at a high level. By training your core, you will focus on the strength and flexibility of these muscles. And combined with a clean & healthy diet, you just might see that waist shrink.
Besides the obvious aesthetic benefits of maintaining a lean and tight core, there are many important functional reasons as well. Easing back pain, improving balance, standing straighter (and looking taller) and being able to lift heavy objects with reduced stress or strain are just some of the positives of having a strong core. Consistent core training and having a strong core allows you to execute everyday movements with ease. You will feel better and look better – that’s a win!
There are several key tips when performing core exercises.
The first is breathing. Keep your breathing pace natural and steady. Think of the inhale as the “pull back’ motion of a bow & arrow. The exhale is the extension of the bow after being pulled back. A more slow & controlled inhale combined with a more explosive exhale will take your breathing the next level and help in your exercises.
The second tip is form. It’s critical to proper core training. Maintain control through every rep because that will help to ensure ease of movement and strength within each movement.
The third key tip to think about in core training is speed. It’s all about keeping a natural pace, not speeding up or even working too slow. When we feel that an exercise becomes challenging, we might try to rush through it. Take that deep breath and slow down.
Some of my favorite core exercises are planks, slow mountain climbers, bicycle crunches, lower ab leg lifts and boat pose holds.
Love your core and it will love you back!
Cheers to Health,