While many of us strive to achieve to have a strong core, we need to understand why it is important and which muscles make up the core.
Many may believe that just having an awesome looking 6 pack is what constitutes a strong core but this is not the case. A strong core consists of 4 main muscle groups. Traverse Abdominis (Abs), Erector Spinae (Lower back), Obliques and Lower Lats.
These 4 main muscle groups play an extremely vital role in our bodies. They are called the stabilizers and for good reason. These stabilizing muscles are what keep us upright, without them, we would just flop over either looking up at the sky or staring at the ground. They help in keeping the correct posture and give us the ability to walk, run and lift weights.
When it comes to bodybuilding, the core plays particular importance. Generally, most bodybuilders want to look great and have a large physique. Maintaining a stable trunk will allow you to achieve these results.
Having a weak core is not ideal for many reasons. It can hinder your performance pushing your end goals back. It can slow you down, even doing something basic like getting up from your chair or reaching for a glass in your kitchen cupboard can be challenging. A weak core can also lead to a poor posture, causing us to slouch and end up with rounded shoulders. This can also lead to lower back pain.
Here are 5 basic but awesome core exercises to get you started.
- Plate Twist
The plate twist is one of the most effective core exercises to tone and strengthen your abs. With its unique motion, the exercise activates the obliques and stabilises other abdominal muscles.
The exercise is ideal for even beginners and casual trainers, thanks to its simple yet effective motion.
Step 1: Lie down on the floor with fully extended legs. With an upright torso, bend your knees slightly to complete the initial position of the exercise. Rest your body on your glutes and your heels.
Step 2: Hold the plate securely with both hands. Bend your arms slightly to maintain proper form.
Step 3: Tighten your abdomen. Swing your arms to move the weight from right to left. Each side touching the weight to the floor and holding position between sides.
Important tip: Keep your elbows close to the body while performing this exercise. Keep your abs tight when doing the movement.
- Reverse Crunch
The reverse crunch not only activates the core but also targets the back, hips and the spine.
Step 1: Lie on the floor face up with your arms and legs fully extended. Place your arms on the side parallel to the ground, keeping them in this position for the entire duration of the exercise.
Step 2: Lift your legs so that your thighs are almost perpendicular to your torso. Bend your knees so that they almost touch the chest.
Step 3: Keeping your abs tight, hold the position for a moment and return to starting position.
Important tips: Focus on a smooth motion.
- Side Plank
The plank is a very simple exercise for activating the core. The side plank is an advanced variation that targets the obliques along with the abs.
Step 1: Lie on your side and stack your left leg on the right leg.
Step 2: Raise your body and hold the position by positioning your elbow below the shoulder. Ensure that your torso and legs form a straight line while holding the plank. Keep your abs tight and avoid dropping your hips.
Step 3: Hold the position for thirty seconds and return to the starting position.
Perform the same motion on the other side.
Important tip: Focus on holding the plank for longer durations to increase intensity giving you a stronger core.
The spell caster is a beginner-level dumbbell workout that targets the abdominal muscles with unrivalled precision.
Step 1: Stand straight and hold dumbbells with both the hands using a pronated grip (Palm face down).
Step 2: Keeping your abs tight, rotate your torso to swing the dumbbells to one side until they are in line with your hips.
Step 3: Keeping you abs tight hold position before rotating to the other side.
Important tip: Aim for a controlled and smooth movement, keeping your arms straight. Use a comfortable size weight so you don’t put a strain on your back.