Strengthening Your Core Muscles
You’ve probably heard a lot of hype lately from fitness gurus about strengthening your core. Before you dismiss these exercise regimens as simply the latest fad, you should find out exactly what your “core” is and how important it is to overall fitness.
The “core” of your body is a set of 29 muscles that surround your torso; specifically your abs, glutes, and back muscles. These muscles are very important because they surround your center of gravity. Having a toned core improves posture, balance, and stability. If you still doubt the importance of these muscle groups, put your hand on someone’s abdominal or back muscles while they move (always get permission first). You should be able to feel these muscles working no matter what part of the body is moving.
Since it’s a bit tedious to do 29 separate exercises, it’s best to do moves that work at least one group of core muscles at the same time. The best exercises for strengthening the core muscle groups are the crunch, the bridge, the plank, and the quadruped. These exercises should be done slowly, focusing on doing them right. Remember that an exercise done right once is more helpful than doing it wrong twice.
For those of us that don’t have a lot of time on our hands, there are ways to work your core while you exercise the rest of your body. The best way to do this is by using an exercise ball. Doing exercise on a ball requires a lot of effort to stay balanced. Since the core is pivotal for staying balanced, you’ll work these muscles while you’re doing exercises for other parts of the body. Exercise balls can be purchased at most stores that sell fitness equipment.
While you’re purchasing a ball, you should pick up an instructional tape or even sign up for a class to get you started. The most important part of doing these exercises is doing them correctly. You should focus on the form of the movements and proper posture. This will give you the most benefit from your workout.
Hopefully this information is enough to get you started. While it’s important to exercise all your muscles, paying extra attention to your core will allow you to work perform better with your whole body.