Core training might sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. And believe it or not, this isn’t about having rock-hard abs or looking a certain way. This small section of the body is critical to short- and long-term wellness. And while it’s easy to ignore, it’s just as easy to incorporate a few simple, yet effective moves in a few short minutes a day. And the impact is huge.
Why Core Training Is So Important
In America, we lead increasingly sedentary lives. And COVID-19 isn’t doing us any favors. Maybe you work at an office (or from home) eight or more hours per day. And if you’re still commuting, that could add another hour of sitting to your day. You sit to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And when you’re exhausted from whatever your day held, you probably sit down in the evenings, whether it’s with TV, a video game or a good book.
The more we sit, the weaker our core becomes. The core is your midsection, including front, side, and back muscles. This muscle group stabilizes your entire body! A weak core can lead to poor posture, lower back pain, and a protruding belly (which makes your lower joints bear more load), while also reducing your overall strength during other exercises such as walking or running.
A strong core means stronger stability and reduces the likelihood of injury, especially to the back. To get started, contact The Camp or check out these great ways to begin building core strength and stability.
Three Core Exercises
These three core workouts were selected because of their ability to produce maximum impact while also lending themselves to modification for a wide range of fitness levels:
- The Plank
It seems simple, maybe even silly, to hold yourself in a position without movement. But this is an excellent exercise that is easily done and can challenge even the strongest!
- Begin on all fours, hands directly below your shoulders, knees under your hips.
- Straighten your legs behind you, keeping your feet hip-width apart.
- Engage (tighten or squeeze) your abdominal core muscles.
- Hold for 10-30 seconds. Release and repeat.
Modifications can be done on the knees. Or you can lower yourself to your forearms with your legs still extended.
Lots of variations are available for this static hold. You may feel this exercise in your legs, glutes, shoulders, arms, and back as well.
- Penguin Crunch
This fun lateral crunch is reminiscent of a shuffling penguin. But in truth, it focuses on the obliques or side muscles.
- Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hands at your side.
- Lift your upper back and shoulder blades off the floor (like you’re beginning a classic crunch).
- Reach your left hand towards your left heel, squeezing the left oblique as you do. Then switch sides.
- Alternate sides for 30 seconds. Rest and repeat.
Come on, who doesn’t want to feel like the Man of Steel, flying through the air? This exercise is simple to execute and very effective in strengthening both the abdominal and lower back muscles.
- Lay face down on a mat or other flat surface with arms stretched above your head.
- Keeping your arms and legs straight, lift your head, legs and hands 4-5 inches off the ground. Exhale as you lift.
- Hold for 5 seconds. Then inhale as you lower back to a flat position.
- Repeat for 10.
For more information on these or other core exercises, or to join one of our amazing challenges, contact The Camp at 615-915-2068.
As always, please consult your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.