Your core muscles include your abdominal muscles and back muscles. Specifically, the abdominal muscles include: the transverse abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques and rectus abdominis. At the deepest level of the abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis is used to stabilize the lumbar spine and pelvis. On the sides of your abdomen, the obliques are used for twisting motions and for bending sideways. At the most superficial layer, the rectus abdominis is utilized for posture and flexion of the lumbar spine. The back muscles include the back extensors and gluteal muscles, which extend the torso.
Having a strong core is essential in having good balance, stability, and posture. A strong core also helps in the prevention of lower back pain. To perform everyday activities efficiently, a well-trained core contributes to being able to efficiently bend, lift, twist, and reach overhead. This is useful in activities such as gardening, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and carrying groceries or furniture. For athletic or recreational sports, core muscle development is important to be able to generate powerful movements, which are used in sports such as baseball, soccer, volleyball, and swimming.
Glute Bridge: Lie with on your back with your knees bent. Engage you abdominal muscles and raise your hips until they are aligned with your knees and shoulders. A more challenging version is to do this exercise with one knee extended in the air while the other leg supports the body weight.
Plank: While facing down, place your elbows on the floor with the elbows directly under the shoulders. Start with your knees bent, then shift your weight to your toes and raise your knees off the floor. Keep your back, hips and legs aligned.
Bicycle Crunches: Lie facing up. Place your hands behind your head. If you want, you can interlock your fingers. Lift your head up and touch your right elbow to the left knee while pulling your knee up towards your head. At the same time, straighten your right leg. Then repeat the same motion, using your left elbow to touch the right knee.
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This tip was brought to you by Body & Soul Personal Trainer Constance Batore.