A weak core can lead to problems, including poor posture, lower back pain, and decreased athletic performance. The core encompasses the pelvic floor muscles, multifidus, transversus abdominis, obliques, erector, cervical spine, and diaphragm. If you experience lower back pain when bending over or have pain when you lift heavy items off the floor, core workouts can help fix these issues. Here are five core strengthening activities that can help fix a weak core:
To perform a plank, start by taking a pushup position with your hands resting on the ground and keeping your body straight. Planks target the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis. This core strengthening exercise works these muscles isometrically. Planks maintain the stability of these muscles rather than actively relaxing and contracting. Planks contribute to maintaining good posture and stability. Holding a plank position challenges the core muscles to resist gravity and maintain proper alignment.
Apart from the regular plank, there are also side planks, forearm planks, or planks with a leg lift. To perform a forearm plank, start by assuming a pushup position with your forearms resting on the ground and your body tight. Keep your body straight and engage your core to hold to the position. Avoid sagging or lifting your hips too high and breathe steadily to target your core muscles effectively.
By practicing specific yoga poses, you can target and engage the muscles in your core. Yoga for the core can engage the superficial and deeper abdominal muscles, such as the obliques and transverse abdominis. These muscles play a role in stabilizing the backbone and maintaining proper alignment. Some yoga poses that target the core include the boat pose, which requires sitting on the floor with your legs extended and lifting them off the ground while balancing on your rear. The upward dog pose can open the chest and stretch the front of the body. Besides strengthening the core, yoga can help increase body awareness and functionality and promote better digestion.
Pilates emphasizes precise and controlled movements, proper alignment, and breath control. The exercise targets the superficial abdominal muscles and deep core muscles such as the pelvic floor, multifidus, and transverse abdominis. The hundred is a pilates exercise that involves lying on your back, lifting your head and shoulders off the mat, and extending your legs to a 45-degree angle. While in this position, you can pump your arms up and down while maintaining a stable core. You can also try the pilates roll-up by lying on the mat and then rolling your spine up sequentially, one vertebra at a time until you reach a seated position.
4. Cardiovascular Activity
Cardiovascular activity is also known as aerobic exercise. While this exercise directly targets and strengthens the muscles, it contributes to overall fitness. Certain cardiovascular activities like kickboxing, boxing, and dance routines involve movements that engage the obliques. Other activities like running, swimming, rowing, and cycling require stability and control to maintain proper form and posture through the movement. This helps strengthen the core muscles.
5. Dead Bugs
Lie on your back with your arms extended in the direction of the ceiling and your knees bent at a ninety-degree angle. Slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg towards the ground while keeping your core engaged. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. This exercise improves core stability and coordination.
Enjoy These Core Strengthening Exercises
A strong core is the foundation for optimal physical performance and injury prevention. By incorporating these effective methods into your fitness routine, you can enjoy the benefits of improved stability, balance, and functional fitness. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity to avoid injury.