When most of us think about core strength, the first thing
that comes to mind is abs. Having a flat tummy and six-pack are nice, but the
benefits of core strength go far beyond aesthetics.
Your core muscles help you stay upright. They affect every movement that requires stability and balance, including bending over to put on your shoes, sitting at your desk, or walking down the street.
A weak core could mean a lifetime of lower-back pain, especially if the muscles surrounding your spine are weak and aren’t supported properly. Worse yet, a weak core affects your balance, increasing the risk of falling.
An easy way to check your core strength is to stand on one leg with your eyes closed for at least 10 seconds. If you can’t do it, and you know your abdominals aren’t fatigued because you’ve not done a single plank or push-up in a while, it’s very likely that your core is weak.
Simple Exercises to
Strengthen Your Core
Core strengthening exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. Any exercise that engages your abdominal and back muscles at the same time is considered a core exercise. Some popular examples include:
The plank is a super simple exercise that engages your entire body. It strengthens your core, back, glutes, and hamstrings, and improves stability and posture. Most importantly, you don’t need any equipment.
The push-up is a step above the plank. It not only targets your core but also your arms, shoulders, and chest.
However, it’s not exactly easy to do a perfect, 90-degree angle push-up, especially for beginners. You can make it easier by dropping to your knees or putting your feet against a wall.
Abdominal crunches are very popular with people trying to get chiseled abs. While they don’t specifically target stomach fat, they’re an effective way to strengthen your abdominal and lower back muscles, and obliques.
Ultimately, you’ll get much better results if you do all three of these exercises as opposed to relying on just one.
How Often Should Your
Do Core Exercises?
In the quest for those elusive abs, most people do core strengthening exercises every day. However, abdominal muscles, like any other muscle group, need time to recover.
Exercising your core two to three times a week after your regular workout is enough. Anything more might overwork your muscles, keeping you from getting the results you’re dying to see.
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