Targeting core muscles is more than simply getting that beach-body you have been after for a while – the importance of a well-toned, healthy and well-maintained body cannot be neglected – it much more than just physique and appearance. The ‘core’ refers to the 29 muscles of various kinds that join at the hip, and is rightly dubbed as the powerhouse of the body. It is the place of the body from where the body movements originate. In order to transfer energy from the lower region of the body (lower limbs) to the upper region, it is necessary to have strengthened core muscles. Thus the need for strong core muscles should be at the forefront of your mind in any fitness or weight training plan.
The following 4 points epitomise the importance of having strong core muscles:
Prevention from Injuries
The physicians and physical trainers divide the core muscle development into two categories.
Core Stability: refers to the development of the core muscles that lie in the proximity of the spine
Core Strength: such as is depicted by the six pack abs
Focusing on core stability first, followed by building core strength is the best way to enhance injury prevention. A solid core ensures that movements are powerful and pain-free.
The recommended exercise for building core stability is the pelvic floor exercise Kegel – which consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form the pelvic floor. Strong stability is at the centre of everything, which is why it is best to focus on this first.
Tuning of a pain-free body
The development of core muscles allows the body to tune so that the lower region including hips and pelvis work in accord with the abdomen region. This leads to development of muscle coordination so that the body functions in complete harmony.
When the body is out of tune, a common side effect of a weak core is back pain. Office workers are particularly at risk to back pain due to being hunched over a screen all day. This fails to engage the core, so don’t forget to regularly move, tighten core muscles and sit with a good posture to avoid excess strain on the spine, neck and shoulders.
With a strong core comes a good posture. Think of the image of strength… Think Spartan warrior from 300 – Tall, upright, broad shoulders, chiselled abs, confidence – this all comes from a strong core. A slumped posture often gives the impression of weakness and low confidence, so don’t forget to sit/stand tall, regularly engaging the core muscles.
Protection of Vital Organs including Central Nervous System (CNS)
The development of strong core muscles is important for the protection of vital body organs since these muscles lie in the most critical region of the human body where all the major blood vessels are also located. Thus the body movement can be enhanced and protected by developing strong core muscles.
Better physical appearance
The development of the core muscles can enhance the physical posture; impart strength to the body, improve stamina, better the body’s physical coordination and fine-tune movements. So not only will you be strong and healthy, you will also have that much desired six-pack look.
Recommended abdominal exercises include the ‘plank’ and ‘crunches’ to really engage the core muscles. Don’t forget though – just because you are muscular and strong, it doesn’t mean that you have a strong core.
The old adage states a strong mind in a strong body is a thing to pray for. Developing core muscles is a great way to get a strong body – a strong mind will come with it.