Ask most people how to get a strong core and they’ll probably mention crunches, leg raises, and sit-ups. While these common exercises do work your abdominal muscles, there’s a lot more to your core than just abs. Your pelvic and hip muscles, obliques, and other spine-supporting muscles are equally important—and far too often neglected.
Your Core and Sport Performance
If you want to gain more dynamic power, you have to strengthen your core. Any sport or activity that involves twisting, rotating, leg lifting, throwing, or swinging places high demands on your body’s core muscles. Virtually any upper or lower body movement you make begins in your core; if these muscles are underdeveloped, your performance will suffer. Do you want to jump further, run faster, or kick harder? Improving your core strength can lead to startling improvements in your performance capabilities.
Lowered Risk of Injuries
The midsection stability you get from a strong core allows you to change direction or body position fluidly with little risk of strains or injury. Your lower back muscles, which suffer all sorts of assaults, are part of a healthy core. Keep them strong and you’ll be at far less risk for pain or damaged caused by improper lifting and bending. A strong core also improves your balance, helping to prevent the falls that can be particularly hazardous as you age.
Do you want to stand tall? Your core muscles are surprisingly important to good posture. Weak back muscles often create imbalances that lead to slumped shoulders and a forward falling pelvis. This can make you look like you’re out of shape, even if you workout regularly. A strong core will help correct posture issues and keep you looking straight and strong.
The Legendary Six-Pack
If you hope to achieve the elusive six-pack, balanced muscular development is vital. You can do all the crunches you want, but if you ignore the rest of your core you’ll find it all but impossible to get the definition you’re hoping for. To get the best results, you need to work your abs in concert with your back, pelvis, and hip muscles. A well-balanced workout should focus on all of your core muscles. Work on your entire core and you’ll be far more likely to develop those magazine-worthy abs.
Core Training Matters
Whether or not you play a sport, core training is vital. It compensates for the effects of too much sitting, improves posture, and lowers the risk of back pain or injury. Choose exercises that work your core muscles as a group and you’ll reap significant rewards. Aerial suspension training, such as that provided by Zero Gravity Gym yoga swings and aerial trainers, provides an especially effective way to target the entire core, while also reducing form-related injuries that are common in calisthenics and ballistic exercises.