Hard Core Workout: Are you Really Strengthening Your Core?
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I did the workout below last night. As always the breakdown and video is at the bottom of the page. The focus of this one is tightening and toning your core. I talk about the importance of core strength all of the time. It’s an area that many people seek to see improvement, and it’s important for everything you do in life. Balance begins in your core, strength for lifting, proper running form and economy of movement. All of this (and more!) starts in the muscles of your abdomen.
The abdomen is made up of the rectus abdominis (the muscles that go up and down the center of your abs, that most people refer to as the six pack), the internal and external obliques (love handle area), the serratus anterior (which runs slightly below your pecs, over your ribs), and the transverse abdominis (think built in corset!) That’s only the front part of your core!
To get a full core workout you also need to work the hip abductors, adductors, hip flexors, lumbar spine, eractor spinae, and the diaphragm. Other muscles that play a smaller role in core stability include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius. Core stability is required to protect your lower back, during all lifting activities.
If you have been following my workouts you have probably noticed how many different exercises I do for the core. To truly work the core, traditional situps alone will not get the job done. You need to exercise and engage a variety of muscles from your hips to your shoulders. You should challenge your balance and strength in a variety of different ways.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the muscles of your butt and legs affect the positioning of your pelvis. The picture below shows lordosis of the spine, which as you can see may cause your lower abdomen to bulge out. Working only the front of your abs will not work. You also need to exercise the muscles that support your back.
When you do a core workout, take a moment to think about all of the different muscles you should be working. Are you strengthening each of these areas? You can try my core workout below, or any of my other Core/Ab Workouts. Let me know if you feel a difference in your core strength!
Have a great day! Melissa
Beginner: 10 reps Intermediate: 15 reps Advanced: 20 reps Repeat 1-3X 1. Hanging Leg Raise 2. Jump Rope 3. Heel Tap Ab Hold 4. Hip Lift 5. Sumo Pushup 6. Leg Raise Plank 7. Jump Rope 8. Ab Pull with Stability Ball 9. Butt Pull with Stability Ball 10. Mountain Climbers 11. Side Lunge Kick (right) 12. Side Lunge Kick (left)