Engage Your Core
April 18, 2014
The core has become a very popular buzz word in the fitness world over the last decade and you’ll often hear fitness instructors (including myself) telling their classes to “engage your core!” What is the core and why is it such a big focus when exercising?
The core basically consists of the entire mid-section of your body that spans from the muscles in your abdominal wall (including the internal and external obliques and rectus and transverse abdominis), to the muscles in your back and spine and everything in between. This is the section of your body that you tuck in and squeeze. It’s also often referred to as your “power house,” as it protects your lower back, centers you, gives you balance and allows you to unlock your full potential when working out.
Dancers have been using their core muscles for centuries as it allows them to maintain their frame and posture throughout a dance. Runners, gymnasts and athletes of all kinds use their core muscles to maximize their performance in races, meets and games. Many popular classes at the gym place a heavy focus on core strength as well such as:
According to Michelle Olson, Ph.D. at Auburn University, who’s extensive research on the abdominal region was featured on Self.com, “The pelvic floor forms the base of your core, so you need to be able to tighten it to be able to work your abs from all angles.”
Here are a few core exercises that you can incorporate into your workouts.
1. The first move is called a mountain climber. You “climb” with your feet and quickly alternate bringing your knees in toward your chest while squeezing your core and maintaining a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart
2. The second move is a more traditional core exercise that involves sitting up at a 45 degree angle with your shoulder blades off the floor, holding your fists together at chest level, tucking in your core and slowly turning side to side to work your entire abdominal wall.
Try these exercises to challenge yourself and strengthen your core.
Well, that’s a wrap for tonight my fitness friends! Remember to “engage your core” the next time you workout and you’ll certainly feel the difference in your balance, strength and power. Have a great weekend and talk to you soon!
Works Cited: Liz Miersch, “Activate Your Core,” Self, April 29, 2009.