|if any part of you is assessing or reassessing your exercise plan. Your first step is a simple one. If you are about to start a new exercise program or you are well entrenched in your routine I want to reinforce the importance of starting with your core.
The dictionary defines core as “the basic or most important part; the essence; the central and often foundational part usually distinct from the enveloping part by a difference in nature” And so, no coincidence that this part of your body has been nicknamed this. Without a strong core, the foundation for healthy movement is missing.
If you come to the studio, you may notice, we always start with core. Even if it doesn’t seem like it. Those bird dogs we do? Core. Those dead bugs and planks. More core. Those bridges, balance exercises and twists. Still core. Those pushups before you’ve even started your work out? Core! All of those are meant to prime your core for its role as a stabilizer and a mover when you start your load bearing exercises.
Muscular BoxJust so we are on the same page, your core isn’t just your ‘abs’. The core can be described as a muscular box with the abdominals in the front, low back muscles and gluteals in the back, the diaphragm as the roof, and the pelvic floor and hip muscles as the bottom. Together these muscles work to stabilize the spine and hips as we move. Without these muscles, the spine would become mechanically unstable and compressed. Sound painful? It definitely can be.
These muscles can be further divided into two categories, stabilizers and movers. But what’s most important to know about that is that they should all be activated when you stand up, twist, turn, reach, pick up and move in most other ways.
In a perfect world, your core should contract first in every exercise, and this energy is then transferred to your limbs. A stronger core makes everything else stronger.
Not only does it make it easier to do most other physical activities, a strong core also improves your balance and stability, leads to fewer injuries and helps improve your posture.
But before you add massive sets of Russian Twists or Situps, pay heed, if you do them incorrectly or too frequently you may increase your risk of injury The key activity of our core is stabilization or anti-rotation moves that keep your back from going into extension, like planks or farmers carries.