Core Strength Training and Abdominal Muscle Training are fairly synonymous these days. However, it is important for fitness enthusiasts to understand that core strength training is much more than abdominal exercises. Abdominal muscles have a limited and specific set of actions. Core exercises focus on the entire muscular structure that makes up the spine, pelvis, and torso. An anatomical picture of the muscular structure in this body region reveal just how many muscles make up this core area. With this in mind, if you’re aiming to strengthen your core, you must branch out from the abdominal exercises for maximum effect.
Muscles that should be part of your strengthening routine include the internal and external obliques, the transverse abdominis, the hip flexors, erector spinae, rectus abdominis, gluteus medius and minimus, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, piriformis, and hip abductors. The list, as is clear, is quite long. With this many muscles upon which to concentrate, it’s easy to see why many fitness enthusiasts will actually devote an entire workout just to core strength. Doing so ensures that they are getting maximum benefits to this vital region.
One of the most attractive benefits of core strength training is the reduction in lower back pain. Though abdominal muscles tend to take much of the credit for low back pain reduction, it is a weak core that is a more insidious culprit for back pain. Strengthening the core has the benefit of correcting bad posture and putting reduced strain on the spine.
Most athletes are already aware of the many benefits of core strength training. Recognizing that movement originates from the core of the body and not just the limbs, it’s clear that a strong core offers greater stability and control. Proper posture also can stave off injuries.
You don’t have to join a gym to do a wide variety of core strengthening exercises. Using just body weight, it is possible to do exercises that target all muscle groups contained in the core. Abdominal bracing is the primary technique used in core exercise routines, where the abdominal muscles are contracted. In addition to abdominal bracing, you can do squats, push-ups, V-sits, hip lifts, lunges, and back extensions. Search online or visit your local library to get information on correct techniques and effective numbers of repetitions for maximum benefit. The simplest core strength program includes abdominal crunches and push-ups, so if you’re just starting out, start there!