The root of any structure’s strength lies in the strength of its core – the powerhouse of the entire structure that is the basic and most important part. And this fact holds true even for the human body – the most complex of structures.
What exactly is our core? Simply put, core is your midsection and it involves all your muscles in that area including the front, back and sides. Be it your daily activities, workout or simple leisurely time – you’d be surprised to know just how much of everything you do is impacted by your core. And this highlights the importance of having a strong core. Without a strong core, the system fails in many ways, subtle and big.
Today, let’s understand the importance of Core Strengthening for the Human Body.
What is Core?
Your core is not just your tummy / abs muscles. It is much more than that. In fact, it includes almost everything besides your limbs. To define core scientifically, it consists of major and minor muscles.
Major muscles of the Core includes pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus,internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, especially the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. The lumbar muscles, as well as cervical muscles may also be considered members of the group.
Minor muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius.
Now that you know just how many muscles form the core, you can guess just how all your functional movements depend and are impacted by your core. Let’s understand it better.
How Does Core Impact the Body?
First thing to know that your core acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center rather than a prime mover.
- Whether you’re walking, running, lifting, dancing or sitting, a strong core means more powerful and controlled movements.
- It holds your entire body steadily and evenly distributes the tension on the required muscles instead of random distribution to muscles that are not even supposed to be engaged.
- The focused engagement of muscles means reduced risk of injury and tearing.
- Strong core muscles are also important for athletes, such as runners, as weak core muscles can lead to more fatigue, less endurance and injuries.
A weak core causes a lot of problems and complications that only increase over time –
- Lower Back Pain
- Poor Posture / Slouching
- Bad Balance
- General Weakness
- Uneven distribution of weight
- Injury to other, unengaged muscles
- Frequent Muscle catches with sudden movement
- Improper form and low strength for various exercises
Test to Check the Strength of Your Core?
Here’s how you can test the strength of your core and decide just how much you need to scale up to strengthen it further –
The simplest way to check core muscle strength is the hollowing test. Take a deep breath. As you begin exhaling, pull your stomach back towards your spine as far as you can. Hold this pose for ten full seconds — if you can’t make it that far, your core needs some work.
How Do You Strengthen Your Core?
Core strengthening is more than just achieving six-pack abs – A strong core does not mean a flattened stomach. Strengthening your core means building up your core muscles, which may be getting stronger even if you can’t see it.
Core strengthening does not happen in isolation – You must focus on training your core as stabilizer and force transfer center rather than a prime mover and in isolation. Besides the basic ab exercises (crunches, leg raises, Russian twist, planks, mountain climbers, etc.), you should also include functional movements like deadlifts, overhead squats, and push-ups, among many other functional closed chain exercises. While working out, you must focus on five different components of core stability: strength, endurance, flexibility, motor control, and function.
How Often Should Your Work On Your Core?
Working your abs every day or doing a separate daily core workout is not necessary. However to get results and prevent overtraining, focus on hitting your core two to three times a week post-workout.
And remember to rest, for your muscles to recover. Doing some crunches or planks at the end of every workout leaves your midsection overworked and injured.
Now that you know just how important your core is, go ahead and work it out to strengthen your body on the whole. If you have any questions about the exercises you can do, drop a comment below and I will be happy to help you out.
Work out the right way to get the right results!