Core Training

One of the most misunderstood term in the fitness industry is “Core Training” A strong Core is essential not just for athletes but for everybody. What exactly is the Core? Many Personal Trainers and fitness enthusiasts refer to the Core as simply the abdominal muscles. This is not correct. The Core is all the muscles in the body which maintain posture, balance and coordination, and they are equally important. Try thinking of it this way, if you had a sailing ship, the guide ropes on either side of the mast would need to have equal tension applied to it. If the ropes on the left-hand side had more tension on them then the ropes on the right it would eventually collapse unless it was corrected. Imagine that the mast on a sailing ship is your spine, your abdominal muscles are the guide ropes on the left-hand side and your lower back muscles are the ropes on the right. If you spent every day performing crunches, planks and reverse crunches without performing exercises for the lower back such as squats and deadlifts you would not have Core-stability. Your lower back muscles would become over-stretched and become weaker. If, however you performed no direct abdominal exercises, all the exercises which stimulate your lower back muscles would cause the arch in your back to become too excessive. What is needed is a balance between abdominal training and lower back training.
Core muscles also include your Hamstrings, Glutes, all your back muscles, (Erector Spinae, Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Infraspinatus, Posterior Deltoids) the Diaphragm and Quadratus Lumborum) True Core-stability requires all these muscles to be trained in a balanced way which ensures your posture is correct.
How do we train our core? In the gym I have found the best exercises for the core are bodyweight exercises such as press ups, TRX rows, glut-ham raises, single-leg squats and crunches. This is because these exercises require you to maintain your posture and control your own bodyweight. The Olympic lifts, squats, deadlifts, barbell rows and standing shoulder presses are also fantastic at developing core strength. If exercising in the gym isn’t for you Pilates and Yoga classes are also fantastic for developing Core-stability. In these classes many of the exercises performed will also be bodyweight versions and provide a social experience at the same time.

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