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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Monthly fitness tip: Core strength.

Courtesy City Of Milton


By Kolleen Riddick, Founder of CorePhysique

Core: it seems to be the new buzz word. But do you really know what your core is? Most people say that it is their "six pack." As trainers, we know that the core is so much more. It is your center of gravity. It is your abdominal region, your hip complex and your entire back.

A strong core will enable you to have better balance, proper posture and will help with athletic performance. A weak core leaves you at risk for back pain and increases your chances of injury.

Very few people take the time to train their core properly. They fail to realize that the core is the foundation of all good movement patterns. All of your power comes from a strong core. Sit-ups continue to be the main choice for many people trying to work the core. However, this only strengthens the rectus abdominis (the six pack muscles).

So what are the best types of exercises to strengthen the core? Core conditioning exercise programs need to target all these muscle groups to be effective. My top three favorite core exercises are:

Plank

Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
Hold this position for 10 seconds to start.
If you experience low back pain drop to your knees
Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds.
Seated Oblique Twists

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Contract your abs and lean back to a 45-degree angle.
Optional: hold weights with both hands directly in front of you.
Contracting your abs, twist slowly from your torso to your right and touch the weights to the floor beside you.
Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Supermans

Lie face down on a mat with your arms stretched above your head (like Superman flying)
Raise both arms and legs slightly off the ground to a hover.
Then raise your right arm and left leg about 5-6 inches even higher (or as far as you comfortably can).
Hold for 3 seconds and switch.
For a video showing the proper movements of these exercises, visit my Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/CorePhysique.

Remember to breathe as you go through these exercises. The focus should be on the core. If you experience back pain, ease off the exercise. There are always modifications that you can do until your core is stronger.

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