You hear it all the time do this and geta six-pack abs in four weeks and workout classes guaranteeing a flat stomach. While we know that working our core is a good thing, the benefits go way beyond the surface.
A STRONG CORE PREVENTS INJURY
When we train the core, we focus on spinal stabilization when the spine is under what we call a “load.” A load is when your abs, glutes, or back body is under stress. When that happens, our goal is to keep the spine strong, stable, and protected.
Strengthening your core gives your spine a structurally sound system allowing it to support that load. Here’s an example: If a watermelon were to roll off the counter and you go to grab it, you want your muscles to be able to lock your spine in place as you catch the watermelon. That’s how we train the core at Absolute Pilates. On the other hand, if you were to do crunches repetitively, you’re teaching your core muscles to move your spine instead of keeping it still. If you go to catch the watermelon then, your spine will move forward, and that’s when injury happens.
A HEALTHY CORE HELPS YOU IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY
At Absolute Pilates, we’re always working our core because we focus on functional training. Functional training is working out in a way that mimics how you move outside of the studio. (or how you should move outside the studio) You rarely ever stand still and only move one muscle in your body. We address this in class by practicing moves that combine different muscle groups, for example, squatting while doing bicep curls. This could translate to real life by carrying grocery bags and lifting them onto the counter or leaning down to pick up your children.
A STRONG CORE UPS YOUR GAME—WHATEVER THAT MAYBE
Do you love to run, golf, or go snowboarding in the winter? A strong core can make you faster and better at most activities requiring balance. It can even make you throw harder. It’s a little like a slingshot: When you brace your core muscles, you’ve created stability that will transfer power more efficiently.
FIVE MOVES THAT BUILD A STRONG, BALANCED CORE
At Absolute Pilates, we believe that a strong core is more than strong abs. Along with the abdominals, we include the postural muscles in our backs, the lats, hamstrings, glutes, and chest. Here are five moves that take a well-rounded approach to work your core.
Plank: We love Plank because you can do it pretty much anywhere and it will hit just about every core muscle. In Plank, you’re working your shoulder muscles, lats, seat, and legs, and of course, it’s a real burner for your abdominal muscles.
Bridges: This move is great for activating your seat muscles and firing up your glutes which are key in keeping your spine well-supported.
Flat Back Core or Mid-Core: Both of these moves directly target and help build strong abdominal muscles.
All Fours: This posture focuses predominantly on the glutes, but if you add a balance option by lifting one arm off the ground, it also becomes a pretty intense abdominal exercise.
Ready to reap the benefits of a strong core? Sign up for a goal-setting session.