Many times you will hear upon traveling through your fitness lifetime, “I want to work on my core”. Did you just imagine someone point to their stomach when you read that? Well, it may come to a surprise that your “core” is not your stomach; not necessarily.
The human core is all the muscles that travel in and around the body from the xiphoid process (the hollow point under the midline of your chest) to the knees. So now imagine every muscle that is wrapped around the body from those two boundaries. There are 13 major and minor muscle groups that fall into the “core”. Now if you were to only point to your stomach, you’d be pointing at only 3 of them. From this, we can say that doing 100 crunches and 100 sit-ups is only attacking 23% of your core.
The function of the core is to keep the body in proper postural alignment. Because it essentially wraps the center of mass (the core) of the human body, it is no wonder that is where good posture originates. Additionally, it also assists in movement, whether it is functional, static, or dynamic.
Let’s think about all the exercises that could benefit and work the core that work all those muscle groups. Remember, we’re starting from the bottom of the chest, down to the knees, and everything wrapped around. Planks, situps, leg raises, side planks, and believe it or not, squats. Yes, I said the “S” word. Anything that requires use of the leg muscles in a functional motion will work the core! This can include, but is not limited to, squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, jumping, and much more. Even walking up a slope or walking on the sand at the beach requires use of your core. Any uneven surface challenges the core.
Learning how to do proper form on these exercises is crucial. Make sure before you start any new movement, you are properly assessed and evaluated in case you need to make any modifications to help you progress properly. Pilates and yoga are great ways to work those deep core muscles and keep you in proper posture during those big movements.
Now, let’s work your core. You should be hugging your body and legs (up to your knees) to ensure proper definition.
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