The Best Core Exercises for Strength Training
Everybody knows that core strength is a crucial element of all strength training, but what experts actually consider as your core often surprises people. Your core is comprised of a large variety of muscles, spanning from hips to shoulders. A strong core is not just represented by toned abs, but different muscles along the length of the torso that help to stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulders. Increasing your core strength reduces back pain, increases athletic performance, improves posture and more. Here are some of the best core exercises for your strength training.
The plank is a great beginner exercise that works out your abs and core muscles along the spine.
- Begin facing down with forearms and toes touching the floor and elbows underneath shoulders.
- Tighten your abdominals and draw your stomach towards your spine while you keep your torso straight and rigid. Make sure your shoulders are down and your heels are over the balls of your feet.
- Hold this for several seconds before releasing – start with 10 and work your way up to 120 over time
Supermans are another great beginner exercise that extends your back, increases ab strength and helps to work smaller core muscles that aren’t targeted by most core exercises. They’re also simple to do:
- Lie face down with arms stretched above your head like you’re Superman. Make sure you’re lying on a soft surface, like a mat.
- Raise your left arm and right leg as far above the ground as you can and hold them for 2-4 seconds. Repeat with the right arm and left leg.
- Be sure to check out a list of common superman mistakes, because if you do the superman the wrong way, you might as well not be doing it at all.
Bruce Lee’s dragon flag targets your overall core strength with a focus on abdominals. It is difficult to do and requires strong joints, so it should only be practiced by advanced exercisers with a good body strength basis.
- Lie on a bench, gripping its sides or a stable object overhead.
- Contract your torso, drive your legs up and keep your body as rigid as you can from your shoulders to your toes. Try to avoid bending your hips and point your toes, so your body is aligned.
- Slowly lower your legs without touching the bench with anything lower than your upper back. Hover just over the bench and repeat.
Barbell squats are great for lower body strength; they work on multiple muscles at once. If you’re beginning, you should work with somebody, because if done improperly, you could damage your body.
- Stand with your feet wide apart and lift the bar, while ensuring your heels and toes remain on the floor.
- Bend your knees slowly and keep your torso upright. Keep yourself centered with constant, slow muscle tension.
- Return to starting position while keeping everything upright and straight.
- Repeat 2 sets of 6 squats to start with.
Keep in mind that although the exercises may be hard, you shouldn’t hold your breath. This means your muscles aren’t being provided with enough oxygen. You should also try to remember that your body needs to be aligned and balanced, so you are doing equal work – if you’re off-center, you can actually do damage to your spine. The most important thing to remember is to keep going! For the first few weeks, you’ll be unlikely to notice a difference apart from sore abs, but keep going, and you’ll notice a genuine improvement in your strength.
Sports Injury Doctors Near You
It is important to realize that performing any physical exercise without maintaining proper form can result in injury to the spine. Muscle spasms and muscle strains are also common to the neck muscles. If you feel any pain that persists for more than 1 week, you should seek medical attention to assess your physical condition.
At Icon Medical Centers, we have the sports injury doctors you need to help you recover. Our medical professionals will work in collaboration in order to structure a treatment plan that will involve physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy to improve your back or neck pain.