• Core Strength

    Core Strength

    Photo by John Lathrop

    Photo by John Lathrop

    While most people realize that exercising on a regular basis is a requirement to stay in good shape and be physically fit, many people end up overlooking some of the most important exercises.  For those looking at being in good physical condition, incorporating a strong core workout into your exercise routine a few times per week is very important.  Strong core exercises will provide you with a variety of different benefits.

    While most people correlate having a strong core with six-pack abs, there are actually a variety of other reasons why it is important that you have a strong core.  Having a strong core is extremely important for anyone that participates in any form of athletics.  A strong core will help you remain balanced, improve your ability to twist and move quickly, and provide you with a certain level of explosive strength.  These factors will help you improve in any athletic environment, regardless of your age, skill level, or the sport that you are playing.

    Beyond improved athletic performance, having a strong core is also extremely important for overall health.  Along with strong abdominal muscles, having a healthy core also leads to creating a strong lower back.  Increasing lower back strength will help prevent you from having back pain and will allow you to function properly throughout the day.  A strong core also influences good posture, which will further help protect your back as you age.

    Since having a strong core is so important, most people should incorporate core muscle strength training in the overall exercise program.  Historically, the most popular core exercises have been sit-ups and crunches, which target certain muscles in the stomach, while including these with proper execution it is important to focus on core training outside of just isolated abdominal exercises.

    Today, most of the core exercises can be completed at home without any fancy gym equipment.  One of the most productive core exercises are planks.  Planks are simply performed and only require you to maintain a flat plank position for 30 to 60 second intervals.  Doing this repeatedly will strengthen both your abdominal and lower back muscles.

    Along with planks, there are a variety of other exercises that specifically target the core muscle groups.  These traditional exercises, which include the bench press, squat, power clean, dead lift, and lunge, all primarily focus on muscle groups other than the core.  However, with proper form, each of these exercises requires balance and core strength.  Making sure to have a strong and healthy core should  be a major goal in all exercise programming.

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