Core stability training is different than 5 minute abs. Even if you will never have a perfect 6 pack training your core is one of the most important things you can do. What do we mean by core stability training, why should you do it and how do you accomplish it?
The core muscles are all the muscles that make up the center of the body. This includes the transverses abdominis, rectus abdominus (the visible ab muscles), pelvic floor muscles, multifidus, internal and external obliques and diaphragm.
These muscles are important for both stabilization and mobilization. The function of the core muscles include sparing the spine from excessive load and transferring force from the upper to the lower body (and the reverse). The core is integral in stabilizing the trunk while the arms and legs move, as well as stabilizing the hips, torso and shoulders.
Core stability is important for everyone, not just athletes. These muscles are important to maintain good posture and make it easier to do every day actions like housework, gardening and home repairs. They also improve balance and stability which can help prevent falls. Core muscles are important to train in order to reach any fitness goals or even to participate in recreational sports.
Exercises to enhance core stability focus on increasing muscle stiffness in 360 degrees around the spine. Injuries to the lumbar spine are increasingly common as we age and usually do not result from one specific event but instead come from a history of loading while twisting and flexing the spine. Therefore, developing stiffness around the lumbar spine is important to help prevent wear and tear over the long term.
Training core stability is easy to do at home and requires no equipment and very little time. Instead of doing abdominal exercises with a large range of motion though the trunk (like sit-ups and side bends) the focus is on performing exercises in a stable position while bracing the core and maintaining a neutral spine. Since the core is not just one muscle a variety of progressive exercises should be used that address the front, sides and back muscles. For example, a beginner core program would start out with crunches or dead bugs to address the anterior core, glute bridges to address the posterior core and side planks to address the obliques.
These exercises are then slowly progressed by adding instability and weight to them as needed. Over time core strength is improved and back pain and risk of injury is decreased.
If you suffer from lower back pain and want to try to improve your core stability I offer a 3 month long progressive online program that is perfect for everyone. It only takes a few minutes a day to improve your stability and gain real benefits. No, this program will not give you 6 pack abs that are the envy of your friends but they will help you move pain free and enjoy activities without hurting yourself. This program is beneficial for everyone, it can be added on to an exisiting training plan for athletes or done as a stand alone program for couch potatoes. Give me a call today before the cumulative effect of a lifetime of bending and twisting catches up with you!