THE CORE IS YOUR FOUNDATION – LEARN HOW TO TRAIN IT WITH THESE 5 EXERCISES
Posted On Sep 13, 2018
By Dr. Arkady Lipnitsky, functional movement specialist at ReBalance NYC
Everybody wants washboard abs but did you know that your core is more than just the aesthetics of a six-pack! In fact, training the core muscle group is the most essential and important part of any training routine.
As a chiropractor and a specialist (diplomate) in rehabilitation as well as a specialist in the functional optimization of performance and sports injury prevention, I can tell you without question that proper core activity is the foundation of physical health and proper kinetics. In fact, your core is the keystone to the two most essential bodily functions: breathing and movement.
“If I were asked to choose the single most influential variable that links pain and performance enhancement, it would be an underperforming core,” shares Stuart McGill, Ph.D., and Professor of Spine Biomechanics.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR CORE
Our spine is an incredible structure that is designed to move in multiple planes and bear loads at the same time. But like any other flexible structure, it was engineered with an ingenious 3D guy wire system to keep this structure stable. This complex integrated system is what we call the core!
Core training should be as functional as possible and involve all the muscles of the core: the diaphragm, pelvic floor, oblique abdominals, transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus, and the lumbar spine musculature.
WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CORE, NOW MORE THAN EVER
Our bodies we designed for movement and weight bearing—not for sitting and inactivity. However, in today’s modern society, we spend significantly more time in a sitting position then in. This prolong sitting has its damaging effect on every system in our body. Simply put: “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. So even though we have our guy wire system is in place, it’s out of tune, uncoordinated and weak, and therefore it can’t and won’t give us an adequate support and could even break under stress.
That’s why core training serves as a basis for preventing injuries of the musculoskeletal system, stabilizes body posture, and protects the spine from overload or pain while giving us the ability to move and perform on a much higher level.
5 EXERCISES TO TRAIN YOUR CORE
‘There are many roads to Rome’ and likewise, there are many great core training routines. At ReBalance NYC, a holistic health and beauty center offering a 360-degree approach to patient wellness, we recommend starting from these safe yet incredibly effective exercises below. They’re designed to wake up your stabilizers, reboot your neurological connection and engage all levels of your 3D core system.
- Dead bug with a wall push: The “dead bug with a wall push” is an excellent way to develop maximum abdominal tension without imposing an unnecessary risk to the spinal discs. Maybe you’ve seen a regular dead-bug exercise, but the addition of the wall push activates the lats, which are essential for core strength.
- How-to: Lie down on your back with your head closest to the wall. Place hands on the wall and push while maintaining tension. Bring knees up over your hips and begin the exercise by lowering each leg one at a time until the heel touches the floor
- Perform two sets of 10 reps with each leg.
- Challenge yourself: Use a stability ball between arms and legs. This forces you to use your core so you don’t compensate with other muscles. This works your whole abdominal region.
- Side Plank: This exercise targets your obliques. The key is to make sure you’re contracting your glutes and your core while maintaining a straight posture.
- How-to: Hold each for 8 seconds. I’ve personally found that working up to 10 seconds is acceptable–and beneficial.
- McGill Curl Ups: This exercise sets your hips and spine in a proper position. It’s similar to a sit-up without all the terrible spinal flexion and disc compression. After just a few reps you really start to feel the burn.
- How-to: Try these out for 8-10 reps with a 2-second isometric hold at the top and a slow, controlled tempo.
- Stir the pot: If you’ve never performed this exercise before, you’ll be shocked by how deep you feel the muscles firing within your core.
- How-to: Start in a plank position with your elbows resting on a Swiss ball. Make circles with your elbows to activate the lats while the core has to stabilize your position. Do 2 sets of 10 reps (five reps in each direction).
- Challenge yourself: Start with small circles for the first workout. Then focus on increasing the range of motion, or the size of the circle, as you become accustomed to the exercise.
- Pallof Press: The Pallof Press is an excellent exercise to train the core muscles that resist rotation. It can be performed while laying in the back with knees and hips at 90 degrees; progressing to kneeling as well as standing positions. Strengthening the muscles that resist rotation is key to well- rounded core training!
- How-to: Do two sets of a 20-second hold with each side.