To stay away from injuries that may occur from day to day activities, it is important to keep the core strong and flexible.
WHAT IS CORE TRAINING?
The area of the body, which is commonly referred to as the core, is your midsection and it involves all your muscles in that area including the front, back and sides. The core includes the traverse abdominis (TVA – your natural back support brace), erector spinae, obliques (internal and external), rectus abdomenis (your 6 or 8-pack), and your lower lats.
These muscles work as stabilizers for the entire body. Core training is simply doing specific exercises to develop and strengthen these stabilizer muscles. If any of these core muscles are weakened, it could result in lower back pain or a protruding waistlines. Keeping these core muscles strong can do wonders for your posture and help give you more strength in other exercises like running and or weight training.
MARCELLA’S TOP 5!
Correct form and technique are essential to avoid spinal strain! So always work for quality over quantity and build slowly!
- Teasers: The shining star in the Pilates world! This exercise works on strengthening the full body, and incorporates many muscles including all of the abdominal muscles, spinal extensors and hip flexors. In fact the Teaser is much more effective than traditional crunches at targeting your external obliques and rectus abdominis. The goal of the Teaser is to use your core, hip flexors, and spinal flexors to come up into and hold the position, balancing on the base of the pelvis just behind the sitz bones. There is a bit of a curve in the lumbar spine as you hold this V-sit position, with a proud and lifted upper torso, opening across the chest and shoulders. The arms reach out, parallel to the legs.
- Lower and Lift in Ab Curl: Lie on your back and legs straight to the ceiling (hinged at the hips). Hands behind your head (don’t clasp your fingers). Press your lower back into the mat and tighten your ab muscles as you lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the floor. Maintaining this position, lower you legs towards the floor only as far as you can keep a connection to the mat, then lift the legs back to the ceiling without momentum.
- Bicycle Abs: Lie on your back on a mat with knees bent, feet on the floor, and hands behind your head (don’t clasp your fingers). Press your lower back into the mat and tighten your ab muscles as you lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the floor and simultaneously move your right elbow and left knee toward each other while straightening your right leg (if you let it touch the ground you will be targeting mid abs more than lower abs). Draw your right knee back up and immediately move your left elbow and right knee toward each other while straightening your left leg.
- X Oblique Scissor Curls: Lie on your back in a big X. Drawing your rib cage towards your hip bones, curl up and rotate lifting your right hand and left leg to the ceiling until they meet and then lower down with control. Alternating sides and making sure to focus on pelvic and spinal stability.
- Kick Stand Curls: Knees bent and feet flat on mat, rest on your elbow scooping your abs into a deep abdominal contraction. Exhale to connect your upper abs down towards your pubic bone without changing the lumbar spine and increase abdominal contraction through the upper abs.
When doing an ab workout, remember that there are 4 movements of the spine: extension, flexion, rotation, and lateral flexion (side bending)! You can also challenge your core by lying on your back, on your stomach, on your side, seated, kneeling, standing, plank, and balancing! Feel free to join one of our Ab Fusion sessions at MPS or Central Core for a quick 25 minute ab workout to keep it fresh and ensure safe and correct engagement! Or join a Barre, TRX, or Pilates class where core work is always included!
Have a fABulous day!
MPS and Central Core