Improve Your Results from Core Work
The buzz in the fitness world has consistently been all about the core. Although fitness crazes are sometimes fickle and short-lived, there are several reasons that the emphasis on strengthening the core endures. Aside from physical appearance, a strong core acts as a base for proper movement and alignment. In order to attain ease and comfort of movement, the body needs the tools to do the job.
Certain muscles play a vital role in providing a stable core, without which good body alignment and efficient function are not possible. The abdominal muscles are more than just the large band that runs down the center of the torso. The core muscles include the rectus abdominis, the external obliques the internal obliques, and the transverse abdominis. The back extensor muscles also play an important part in the support system of the core area but for the purposes of this article, we will focus on the abdominal muscles.
When it comes to strengthening the core, abdominal work should include a pre-contraction of the muscles before the actual work of the movement begins. For example, before doing crunches, imagine that the belly button is bolted to the spine. Scoop the abdominals inward and move the sit bones of the buttocks closer together, engaging the pelvic floor muscles. Clasp the hands behind the head, keeping elbows wide. Exhale while you lift into the crunch to assist the contraction. Inhale as you return to the starting position.
Because we’re all busy, with daily distractions, it’s easy to get into repetitions of a movement and allow the mind to wander away to other things. Keeping the focus on pre-contracting the muscles before each repetition will pay off in a much stronger core. With this approach, benefits will include an improvement in physical appearance, more ease of movement and a healthy, strong carriage.
- Pam Brooks