Do you remember as a child, running, skipping, jumping and even climbing things? To many of us, thinking of doing those things now might seem like a daunting thing! But it doesn’t have to be, read on to find out how you can improve your health and wellbeing by doing some extra core training here at Hammer’s Gym!
As we have gotten older, unfortunately the majority of us have become more and more sedentary, and for those that have office jobs and sit eight to nine hours a day with another hour or two of driving time, that adds up to a lot of sitting! Prolonged sitting and no exercise severely weakens the muscles of your midsection, which could result in lower back pain or a protruding waistline. Keeping these core muscles strong can do wonders for your posture and help give you more strength in other everyday activities like walking, picking things up, or even just getting out of bed! Whether you train 6 days a week or only one or two, everyone should incorporate some sort of core strengthening exercises into their routine.
So what is the ‘core’?
The core is your midsection, and is made up of four major muscle groups: Transverse Abdominis (TVA), Rectus abdominis, Internal obliques and External obliques. The lower lats and erector spine (located on your lower back) are also involved in the core, so it’s not just as simple as thinking it’s only about having ‘abs’! All these muscles work as stabilizes for the entire body, so core training is simply doing specific exercises to develop and strengthen these stabilizer muscles. As mentioned earlier, keeping the body’s stabilizer muscles strong will not only improve an athlete’s performance, but it will help in life’s everyday tasks. Bending, reaching and twisting are all movements we do every day. It could be picking something up off the desk or ground, or reaching for the car seat belt. The last thing anyone wants, including hard-training athletes, is to blow out their back by picking up a two-year-old child off the floor. It can happen, but if the core is kept strengthened, then the chances are lessened significantly. Incidentally, another reason for core training is the beloved side effect that comes from it. That side effect is having an awesome six pack! If your diet is well balanced and you have a little abdominal fat, those abdominal muscles will begin to be a lot more defined and sculpted! Who wouldn’t want that?
Now, not only is core strength important for everyday movements, people who train specifically for overall body strength and/or hypertrophy REALLY need a strong core! Because even though doing heavy compound movements such as the squat, deadlift or barbell row challenge the midsection, it is still vital to have a strong core to prevent injury. Say if you were to perform a heave back squat and your core cannot stabilize and hold up under the heavy weight, guess what takes over to hold the load? That’s right, your back! Now that could lead to some serious injuries!
In order to strengthen your core, remember to stimulate, don’t annihilate! Begin by performing 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. Staying consistent is the key! Doing a little of something consistently is much more beneficial than doing too much every once and a while. So, doing them two or three days per week on non-consecutive days will really benefit you! Some core exercises are: Crunches, Russian Twists, Bicycle Crunches, Hanging Leg/Knee Raises, Sit-ups, Planks, the list goes on! There is so much variety, you will never get bored or stuck doing the same thing again. All of these can also be done with extra weights added, so you can always give yourself a challenge, and there are no weight shortages here at Hammers Gym! We also have an abdominal crunch machine by PRECOR which will definitely help build strength and help sculpt those abs as you can use resistance as you crunch!
So what are you waiting for? Come visit us at Hammers Gym 24/7 in Nunawading and start strengthening your core today!