Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Essence of Core Training

By: Eduardo Lorenzo

Building a strong mid-section requires more than just the typical ab exercises. Sure everyone would like to have six pack abs to show off, but there a many reasons why someone should and needs to be training their ab muscles in a proper way.

First of all the term Core Training relates to the strengthening of the muscles that stabilize your skeletal structure; meaning the muscles of the spine, your pelvis and shoulders in order to provide a solid foundation for movement in the extremities. Properly training your Core is essential in the treatment and prevention of spinal pain and other musculoskeletal aches.

If your core muscles are strong they will aid in the following:

  • Proper movement of your torso – if your core is not strong you will likely suffer from back problems and increase your chances of injury, “even if you are an active person or consider yourself fit”.

  • Good posture and body stability - These muscles all work in harmony to provide stabilization for your body and to transfer power from the legs to the upper body and vice versa.

  • They will also protect your vital systems, improve body fluids and enhance your circulatory support.


Some of the best core training exercises you should be performing are planks, hip raises, reverse crunches, woodchops and even compound exercises that will involve proper engagement of your core muscles. You can ask any of the members I’ve been training and surely they’ll tell you how sick and tired they are of listening to me constantly reminding them to “draw in” their abs, stabilize their abs, engage their core and hold it for the duration of their set of exercise. The main idea behind these exercises, is that it will strengthen your ab muscles a lot better than any other crunch you could ever do.

In essence, core stability benefits everyone, from older people to top professional athletes. Exercises for core stabilization should be part of every conditioning program, along with flexibility, strength, and aerobic training.

All the parts of your body are connected to one another, directly or indirectly. Think of a chain as the connection; for example, imagine a chain starting at your foot and running through your ankle, calf, knee, thigh, and hip to your pelvis and spine. This is called the kinetic chain, and it means that moving one part of your body can affect another body part. Your trunk is where the kinetic chains come together.

So the next time you think of ab training, forget doing basic crunches only. Remember your body needs all the support it can get.

Eduardo Lorenzo – NASM-CPT; specializes in sports performance, injury prevention, corrective exercises, physique enhancement and weight loss programs.

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