Who doesn’t want to look sexy, especially during the summer? Don’t we all wish to have a perfect score with tucked-in tummies? Unfortunately, our eagerness to achieve quick results diverts our focus from the fact that bodies that have gained so much mass over the years will take some months to shed, or else the quick results will bring us no results and more harm.
Having the perfect core is so much more than just a stunning body. Strong core muscles allow better posture and stability to the body while aiding a healthy back so you can go about doing your daily chores easily.
This article covers the benefits of a strong core and the exercises you need to be doing to get the results you’ve wished to achieve for so long.
What Is the Core?
Before we explain the importance of core and exercises, it’s important to understand what core comprises. Understanding core muscles better will help you establish a mind-muscle connection and help you achieve better results.
The core is not just the six-pack area; rather, it is the powerhouse of our body. It comprises everything from the shoulder down to the pelvis, muscles stabilizing hips, muscles balancing your shoulders and the torso, i.e., the front, back, and side muscles of your body. It is responsible for stabilizing the spine and the rest of the body when the arms and legs move about, preventing you from tripping over and helping you perform everyday tasks efficiently.
Importance of Core
Although the core plays various other roles in the body, it has two major functions. First key function is reducing the pressure on the spine and the hip joints. This reduced pressure minimizes joint damages, fights off back pain, and prevents arthritis amongst individuals.
The second key function of strong core muscles in your body is to transfer the force between your lower body and upper body. By building stiffness around the spine and by the force transfer between the lower and upper body, you will be able to perform daily activities such as running, jumping, lifting, throwing, etc., efficiently without damaging your spine.
Signs of A Weak Core
Your core includes almost the entire body and has other joints and muscles relying on it for stabilization and proper functioning. If you stop working and engaging the core, it will get weak and negatively affect other body parts as well.
If you have a weak core, you will experience lower back pain because there is too much pressure on your spine. Moreover, knee pain is also an alarming sign for your core, as this shows your knees are bearing the brunt of your poor core muscles, unstable back, disapproving posture, etc.
Fortunately, you can start strengthening your core muscles following a few exercises properly that we will mention ahead. They will help you work up your core muscles effectively and avoid facing any knee or lower back pain.
Benefits of A Strong Core
Here are a few reasons why having a strong core can be the best possible thing for you:
1. Improved Balance and Stability
A strong core supports all your muscles and ensures they work together efficiently. Exercising the core muscles helps train your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen muscles, so you can easily go about performing your daily activities such as sitting, running, and walking.
A supportive and strong core allows you to minimize strain on your muscles and joints and keep your body well balanced, reducing your risks of injuries.
2. Eliminates Back Pain
Because your core is located in the middle and supports your entire body along with your head and neck, it needs to stay upright, balanced, and in proper alignment. Having a weak core will force the body to exert pressure on the lower back, which will make the spine work harder, resulting in back pain.
3. Upright Posture
A strong core ensures your body stays in an upright and aligned position. This upright posture of the body reduces any kinds of wear and tear to the muscles and joints, so you can sit at your desk or walk around in the park for longer hours.
4. Boosts strength
When we said that your core is the powerhouse of your body, we meant it. A strong core allows you to energize your moves and perform athletic activities like throwing, swimming, weight lifting, etc., with a lot more power.
5. Supports Strength Training
When lifting heavy weights at the gym, you need to have a lot of strength, stability, and a strong core. Having a strong core will help provide strength in every move of your body, allowing you to lift heavy weights at the gym easily.
Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
Before we start narrating your core workouts, we would like to introduce you to gym gear that has proven to be a game-changer for these exercises.
Do you know how a gap is formed between your lower back and the floor when you’re lying down flat? The gym trainers often suggest putting your hands on the back to fill up the gap and avoid straining the spine, but this technique rarely works.
Using an ab mat to support your lower back when you’re crunching your way to a stronger core will be the best thing you’ll do for yourself and your spine that day. An ab mat is specifically made to mimic the shape of your spine and support your lower back. The slanting shape of the ab mat allows it to fit perfectly along your lower back and helps you exercise without risking injuries.
The workouts using an ab mat will help you achieve the perfect core without straining the spine.
- Place the ab mat under your lower back, allowing yourself to lie down on the floor while supporting your spine comfortably.
- Keep your feet firmly on the floor and bend your knees.
- Using the full range of motion, raise your body upwards, and keep the hips and feet grounded on the floor.
- Once you start feeling the tension in your core, slowly lower your body back to the ground, completing one rep.
2. Reverse Crunch
- Lie down on the floor, with an ab mat placed under the lower back area and your hands by your sides.
- Keep your feet on the ground and bend your knees.
- Start the exercise by tightening your core and lifting your knees all the way, and pressing them against your chest. Lift your hips along the way and hold the lift for a few seconds while keeping your hands steadily placed flat on the floor.
- Slowly return to the floor, relaxing your torso and completing one rep.
3. Sit up Twist
Sit up twist is a compound workout that exercises your obliques, rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominus, along with your hip flexors, chest, and neck.
- Start by placing an ab mat for utmost comfort without risking injuries to your spine. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and feet firmly placed on the floor.
- Place your palms under your head and start your workout by lifting your head and twisting your body to touch the left elbow with your right knee.
- Return flat on the floor and repeat the step on the right elbow and left knee.
- Counting both sides as one rep, continue the workout for two sets of 15 reps, with a 30-second break in between.
4. Side Crunch
- Lie down towards the right side, stacking up your legs on each other, and put your left hand behind your head.
- Once you’re in position, start crunching your sides upwards without moving your legs. Make sure you lift your neck and shoulders along but not create too much tension on the neck.
- Once done crunching your right side, take 30 seconds to break, turn to your left side, and repeat the same exercises.
You must perform 15 reps on each side for effective results.
How long before you start seeing results?
Every exercise tends to take its time before you start seeing the results. Unfortunately, abs are buried deep down under the muscles and layers of fat, and it takes up six months to a year before your abs can start getting visible.
But no need to get disheartened! Even if you’re unable to see the abs clearly, you will be able to enjoy the positive effects of a strong core within a few months, like a stable body, no lower back pain, improved strength, etc.
Having a strong core means more to your overall physical health than just meeting the societal body standards. A strong core ensures an upright posture and enhanced strength levels to work out actively while keeping the lower back pain away. Yes, you will have to work hard and consistently show up for your exercises, but using an ab mat will help you exercise correctly, taking you closer to the results quickly that will dazzle your mind and body to the point where there will be no turning back.
- Akuthota, Venu, and Scott F. Nadler. ‘Core Strengthening11No Commercial Party Having a Direct Financial Interest in the Results of the Research Supporting This Article Has or Will Confer a Benefit upon the Author(s) or upon Any Organization with Which the Authors Is/Are Associated.’ Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, vol. 85, Mar. 2004, pp. 86–92. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1053/j.apmr.2003.12.005.
- Huxel Bliven, Kellie C., and Barton E. Anderson. ‘Core Stability Training for Injury Prevention’. Sports Health, vol. 5, no. 6, Nov. 2013, pp. 514–22. SAGE Journals, https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738113481200.
- Karacaoğlu, Sibel, and Fatma Çelik Kayapinar. ‘The Effect of Core Training on Posture’. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, vol. 4, no. 1 S2, May 2015, p. 221.