Having a strong core is more than just having a six pack. In fact, some people that have six packs don’t have strong cores. It has been proven that having a strong core helps with back pain making you less prone to injuries. This is because your abdomen is the front anchor to your spine. If the abdomen is weak, then the other structures that help support your spine will have to work harder which can make them weak in the long run. A stronger core may also help with your balance and stability.
The Importance of Core Strength
Being that your core is the center of your body, your abs, hips, back, and chest are all encompassed by it. The core stabilizes your body which allows you to move in all directions and have proper balance. Essentially having a stronger core helps the body function properly.
Core exercises help train muscles in the lower back, abdomen, pelvis, and hips to work together. In the long run this helps with balance and stability which makes daily activities easier such as walking and sitting. Core strength helps eliminate back pain because strengthening the core helps keep the body aligned and upright. Also, a strengthened core helps with good posture, which lessens wear and tear that is on the spine and allows a person to breathe deeply which makes it easier for oxygen to travel through the muscles.
Core Strengthening Exercises
Panther Shoulder Tap
- Start on all fours.
- Engage your core and while keeping your back flat and your butt down (like you’re in a plank), lift your knees off the floor about 1-3 inches. Gaze at the floor a few inches in front of your hands to keep your neck in a comfortable position.
- Tap your right hand to your left shoulder, and then your left hand to your right shoulder, while using your core strength to keep your hips as still as you can.
- Continue alternating sides.
- Lie face up with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your legs in a tabletop position (knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips). This is starting position.
- Slowly extend your right leg out straight, while simultaneously dropping your left arm overhead. Keep both a few inches from the ground. Squeeze your butt and keep your core engaged the entire time, lower back pressed into the floor.
- Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side, extending your left leg and your right arm.
- Lie face up with your legs extended and arms extended overhead on the floor, keeping them close to your ears. Contract your abs to press your low back into ground. This is starting position.
- Point your toes, squeeze your thighs together, squeeze your glutes, and simultaneously lift your legs and upper back off the ground, reaching your hands forward to meet your feet so that your body forms a V.
- Keep your core engaged as you slowly lower to return to starting position.
Supine Leg Raise
- Lie face up with your legs extended and hands at your sides or tucked underneath your hips for extra support.
- Slowly raise your legs, keeping them together and as straight as possible, until the soles of your shoes are facing the ceiling.
- Then, slowly lower your legs back down. Don’t let your feet touch the floor; instead, keep them hovering a few inches off. That’s 1 rep.
- As you do this move, make sure to keep your lower back flat on the floor. If you’re having a tough time doing that, don’t lower your legs as far.
The great thing about core strengthening exercises are they do not take much time and are easy to do. With 10-12 reps each and 2 sets total you can do 3 different exercises within 4-5 minutes. Having a strong core takes some time but is very beneficial to your body in the long run.