Improving core strength is a common goal for anybody looking to move and feel better, but how can we get stronger if we don’t know exactly what we are trying to strengthen? Let me break something down for you, endless crunches and side bends WILL NOT build a strong functional core OR six pack abs. Your core spans beyond your abdominal muscles, including the muscles of the trunk, low back, hips, and pelvis (including the pelvic floor). These muscles work together to control and stabilize your body during our day to day activities. A strong core will keep you mobile, balanced, and resilient when recovering from injury, while on the other hand, a weak core contributes to poor posture, low back pain, and nagging injuries.
Now that we know what the core is… How the heck are we supposed to use it??
Simple. We must find it. Engaging your core is more than sucking in your stomach as hard as you can. We want to use our abdominal muscles to pull up (not in) on the front of the pelvis and push your abdomen outward in all directions. Your core naturally engages when we cough, laugh, and use the restroom.
If you have just found your core, focus on engaging it throughout your day to day activities, not just during exercise. Core awareness will keep your feeling strong and stable when lifting weights, carrying groceries, or keeping up with your kids.
Contributed by Dani Barbosa
Health & Fitness Professional