06 Dec Importance of Core Strength
Guys and gals, it’s time to finally set the record straight. For the millionth time, what difference does it make how much you can bench press? This is nothing but a futile number that’s not going to gain you too many advantages in life. The real secret sauce lies in your third chakra.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the core is what you should focus your attention on. What exactly is it? Uncommon to popular belief, the core is much more in-depth than “the abs.” Although you always see people rubbing the excess fat in their bellies, saying, “Ugh. I need to tighten my core.” They’re only partially correct. The core does consist of A muscle in the stomach called the rectus abdominis. But it also consists of the inner and outer obliques, which are on the sides of the stomach; the transverse abdominis, which is internal; and the multifidus, which parallels the sides of the spine. Altogether these muscles form the core.
These muscles work in unison to allow you to bend forward and backward, bend laterally, twist from side to side and remain upright while sitting, standing and moving. A solid core with symmetrical strength will also help you maintain good posture. With good posture, your organs will be in good alignment and function better. Plus, when your core is strong, everything in life becomes easier, such as bench pressing, playing sports and doing any number of daily physical activities. How do you work it? It should make sense that doing crunches will only get you so far with core strength. All you are doing is trunk flexion so your upper rectus abdominis will get strong. But what about the rest of your core? If it’s neglected like a redheaded stepchild, you will be strong in one area and weak in others. You are then susceptible to injury and you won’t have maximum power output with all the stuff you do.
The solution is to perform exercises in various ranges of motion that involve the anatomical movements of the core. For example, perform twisting, bending and lateral motion exercises like bicycle crunches, windshield wipers, back extensions, Russian twists and side dip knee to elbow crunches. You then hit all the key areas and build strength through multiple planes. Having a solid game plan like this will round out your training efforts perfectly. How often should you work your core?
Unlike other muscle groups, the core is very resilient and it recovers fast. It is conceivable to train it every day. But, you need to be smart about it. If you are feeling intense muscle soreness in your abdomen, obviously you shouldn’t work it on consecutive days. After a while though, and once you build up strength, feel free to do core training several times a week. If you do train on consecutive days, a good game plan would be to alternate the movement patterns that you do. For example, perform twisting and side bending drills on one day, then do flexion, extension and hanging drills on the next. As long as you don’t overtrain your muscles, you’ll be fine.
Sport reduction myth
Since belly fat was eluded to earlier, it’s only fitting to address spot reduction. This is the theory that you can shave fat off one region of your body by doing specific exercises for that spot. Unfortunately, that’s just not how life works. You need to burn fat from your body as a whole to lose it one area. By doing core training AND reducing calories AND doing cardio, you can slim down your belly.
All the rules of core training apply to both men and women equally. You can do the same type of exercises and achieve the same type of results. Just know that a strong core will transfer over to every other action you do in and out of the weight room. The same can’t be said with big biceps.