Please don’t be that person who puts off doing abdominal work in the gym. It is such a common problem. Most people think that ‘if they won’t ever have a 6 pack, they don’t need to mess with core exercise’. I can’t help but shake my head.
What exactly is the core?
The core consist of everything that you see in the mirror when you are looking at your stomach. Yea, yea, I’m sure you already knew that. What many fail to understand is what else the term ‘core’ encompasses. The muscles that connect and cover the pubic region, the waistline, all the way up to the pectoral muscles, and connecting to the muscles of the back are also part of the core. They are much more than the washboard abs that you see on T.V.
Why should I train my core?
The core muscles occupy such a large area of your body that they play a role in almost every movement we make. With a strong core, you will be able to gain strength and endurance in other muscle groups in your body. You will be able to more efficiently burn belly fat, as well as fat in every area of your body. The intercostal muscles help to control breathing, and are an often neglected muscle group, especially in those who are vastly out of shape. The reasons are endless!
Why is the core so often neglected?
The simple answer is that people desire to have toned arms, legs, buttocks, and chests before they worry about the abdominals. This is especially true in the average Joe fitness enthusiast. Those who have even an average amount of belly fat will find that they will never visually see the benefits of dedicated core training in the mirror. On top of that, working out the core is hard. The burn that you get from a killer ab workout is deep, and pushes many into forgetting about incorporating it into their routine.
There are many common misconceptions surrounding the core. ‘These muscles have no real health benefits’, or, ‘I run each day, this should be enough’. A rigorous abdominal routine can burn up to 200 calories in as little as 20 minutes. The true health benefits around actively working out the core lie in the fat control of the belly, specifically the upper waistline. An excess amount of fat in this area, even in individuals who aren’t overweight, can increase the risk of heart ailment by as much as 20%. Let that soak in…
How to train your core
There are over 160 named core variations that most gyms acknowledge. It is important to understand that different angles of the body contract different areas of your core. You want to perform exercises that rely on pulling your legs or raising your upper back off the ground. Crunches are the patented method that many people rely on, but they are just a single movement that you should be performing. Any exercise where you are maintaining posture, or performing a trunk movement, will target different areas of your core. There are literally hundreds of exercises out there!
Training your core has more of a benefit to you then just the visual aspect. By incorporating core exercise into your training regimen, you will quickly see improvements in your overall strength, posture, and stamina. On top of all that, you may even shed some inches off your waist. (Songs of happiness)