Find your real core, and give it some love. Build your core strength with 3 simple moves – no crunches or sit-ups. We promise.
Core training one of our favourite topics, but it’s often misunderstood. When people think ‘core’ most tend to think sit-ups, crunches, abs, and six packs. But our core muscles don’t just involve the rectus abdominals (abs). They actually comprise over 29 different muscles in our pelvis and around our spine, as well. This set of muscles probably the most important we have. Think of it this way – how strong would your home be without a solid frame? Your core muscles are like that frame; a fundamental foundation that holds us up and helps us avoid injury. A strong core will give us improved body control, stability and balance. A strong core can also support movement of other muscles such as legs, arms and shoulders, and may even help with back pain.
A simple way to identify a core muscle is to think of any muscle that is in, or connected to, the torso.
You don’t have to do intense uncomfortable movements, like a crunch or sit up, to build your core strength. In fact, to build a good foundation it’s best to progress slowly; starting from the deep, small, mostly forgotten muscles, particularly those in your pelvis. These are the ones which I find always need the most attention.
- Kegels, or the classic pelvic floor clench – Imagine going to the toilet and having to stop midstream. The muscles you use to stop the flow are your pelvic floor muscles. Tighten and release these muscles regularly throughout the day. The best part, no one will notice.
- Bridge lifts – Lie on your back with your knees bent, shoulder width apart. Tighten your abs as you raise your hips off the floor. Hold for 3 seconds then lower your hips to where you started. Repeat 20 times. Add another set of 20 reps if you can.
- Supermans – Lie on your stomach. Tighten your abs as you raise your chest off the floor, hold your arms straight out in front of you – like Superman when he flies. Hold for 2 seconds, then lower your chest and arms to the start position. Repeat 20 times.
Do it when walking, do it when talking
Our core is constantly being used during our everyday movements. We use core muscles when walking, sitting…everything, so another easy way to build your core strength is to try to keep your stomach and glutes (bum muscles) switched-on as much as possible. Stand and walk tall with good posture, your stomach tight and butt pulled under. Lift your chest when sitting.
Try these moves a few times a week, and practise your posture, and I’m sure you’ll start to notice the difference.