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Build More Than Just a 6-Pack The importance of a solid core

What do you think of when you hear the word “core”? I think about the “base” or “foundation” to any object. When it comes to the body, Core is building the body’s foundation to ensure a solid base for proper movement (National Academy of Sports Medicine). When I first began strength training with my trainer, to help me achieve my fitness goals, one of the most beneficial foundations that he incorporated in my routine was building my core strength. He explained to me that core strength is something that should be included within most of my routines as it will assist me in being able to do various movements as I progress. Besides the deep spinal stabilizing muscles, abs, and lower back, it is important to remember that the “core” also includes your entire torso (not counting the arms & legs). We must remember that working your core will not automatically give you abs overnight but instead, it’ll start to develop the many underlying muscles that will assist you in getting those abs eventually (diet should be taken into consideration) and assist you in many different ways. 

We must remember that working your core will not automatically give you abs overnight…

Here are 5 major reasons to why I roar (happy & loud) for core exercises:

Helps me deadlift and squat better: As I continue to learn to properly deadlift and squat, one thing that I notice is that when I am handling very heavy weight, I now feel more stable due to my stronger core. It allows my heavy deadlift and squat form be on point too. 

Better posture: Now that my core is stronger I can walk straighter and taller without really trying.

Minimized injury: I do lots of weight and strength training circuits (sometimes on my own without my trainer around) which can easily cause injury in various ways if my core is weak because of the pressure and heavy load I put my body through. 

Higher efficiency with everyday tasks: Besides the benefits of performing better in athletic sports or training, a strong core will improve your daily life. Strong core-stabilization allows the rest of your body to be stable too. Everyday tasks such as walking and running will become better. Lifting up luggage in an airplane to put in the overhead compartment will become a breeze or hauling giant bags of groceries from the car won’t require you to seek any help. 

Tighter waistline: Though it takes aerobic exercises to burn abdominal fat, core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles and give you a tighter waistline. Yes please! 

Remember, a strong core will help you support heavy weight under serious stress during your squats, deadlifts or presses. Strong and stable core muscles can help eliminate unnecessary movements as well as protect the spine during heavy load training.

The great thing about the core is that if you use proper form and posture during almost any exercise, you may be working/strengthening your core along the way! Woohoo! But, in order to really begin to strengthen your core, there are some basic exercises that you can start incorporating into your training routine now! There are a ton of exercises that you can do for the core based on your abilities and levels but I am going to share some of my top favorite ones that helped me the most during the beginning stages of my fitness journey when my core strength did not exist.

  1. Russian Twists
  2. Mountain Climbers
  3. Bird Dog
  4. V-Ups
  5. Bicycle Crunches
  6. Side Plank Holds
  7. Side Plank Pulses
  8. Elbow Plank

View the video below to follow this beginners core routine. I suggest you try the entire routine first and once you become more comfortable with each exercise, then start incorporating each one in between your other workouts every week. No need to use up an entire workout day just for core when in reality, you can just throw in core movements within your other workouts…and before you know it, you will start developing a stronger core!

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