Phrases like ‘core training’ abound everywhere in the fitness industry. However, despite the fact that everyone is talking about core muscles, a lot of people are still misinformed as to which muscles we’re talking about and how to strengthen them effectively.
“Core muscles” does not only refer to that longed-for six pack!
As with many topics in the fitness industry, there is room for debate as to which muscles are considered to be part of your core. However, the following list covers the main muscles that constitute your core:
- Multifidus the muscles along your spine
- External obliques front and sides of your abdomen
- Internal obliques just under your external obliques
- Transverse abdominus (TVA) wraps around your spine under your obliques
- Pelvic floor from the front of the pelvis to the tailbone
- Rectus adominus the afore-mentioned six pack
Why your core muscles are so important…
Any movement at all involves your core. If these muscles aren’t strengthened, you are far more prone to injuries and poor posture. This is why it’s important that both men and women make a concerted effort to condition these muscles. If the above-mentioned list of muscles are weak, then certain conditions can be exacerbated. These include bladder leakage, weakened ligaments, back pain, and the prolapse of internal pelvic organs.
For women, core muscles are extremely important during and after pregnancy and strengthening these muscles can help to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with pregnancy.
Follow the correct method to strengthen your core muscles.
That old adage of ‘pull your navel towards your spine’ is not the best advice. Some people use the incorrect muscles, hold their breath, and remain stiff throughout the exercises.
The truth is that your core muscles should contract and relax during exercise.
First, locate your core muscles while you are lying down. Lie down flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your fingers 2 to 3 cm inwards from your hip bones. Tighten the muscles that you would use if you needed to stop urinating. Now pull your navel towards your spine (gently!). The muscles beneath your fingers should be tightened. Importantly, you should be able to breath naturally and have a conversation. Once you are confident that you have located your core muscles, you can work on locating and tightening them when you are seated and standing.
Want to know about the most effective exercises to strengthen your core muscles? Contact me to find out the best way to incorporate exercises for your core muscles into your training regime!