Aside from the sex appeal (for both genders) of a nice toned or shredded midsection, having a strong core is essential as part of a powerful overall body. Aesthetically pleasing, a strong core also helps alleviate lower back pain, improves posture and increases overall strength of compound lifts (think squats and deadlifts).
Not As Simple As You Might Think
People often think of core training and picture someone doing endless sit-ups, but the core is so much more than that. The core muscles consist of the upper and lower abs as well as the obliques and several other muscles. The core serves as a stabilizer and is the control center for the amount of force our body is able to produce. Everyday movements we perform all require core engagement and stability, from running to lifting to bending down and picking stuff up off the floor. The stronger the core, the lesser the chance of injury. Additionally, the stronger our core muscles are, the stronger our lifts have the potential to be.
Picture yourself doing a deadlift. You have a strong upper back, grip and legs, but you can not lift those heavy weights because your core is just not strong enough - your core muscles are the first muscles to contract when doing any lift. A strong core, both inside the gym and out, is an absolute must. So what can you do to work on strengthening your core?
How To Increase Core Strength
There are many different exercises that will target different areas. Let’s take a look:
- Bicycle Crunches
- Cable Rotational Twists
- Russian Twists
- Heel Touches
- Roll Ups
- Leg Drops
- V Sit Ups
- Cable Crunches
- Toe Touches
- Swiss Ball Crunches
- Ab Wheel Rollouts
Keep in mind that while some core exercises work a specific part of the core more than others, your core in its entirety is still working. Perform core exercises 1-2 times a week. Stick with 12-20 reps (work until exhaustion) for 3 sets. Choose 2-3 exercises to perform in a core workout.
No matter your fitness goal - aesthetic or functional - working and strengthening your core is absolutely vital. Grasp workout plans are designed to make the most of your ability. Subscribe to our Virtual Personal Training Subscription and start strengthening your core.