Our core is comprised of different muscle groups, all attached at different angles. Our bodies are built this way to accommodate for the vast movements and positions we put them through. I always get asked what is the “best” core exercise for a stronger core. The truth of the matter is; there isn’t “best”, but rather consistency and efficiency. One suggestion I make is that with core exercises be sure to include these different angles and muscle groups versus treating them as a whole.
Core programs should consist of at least 3 components:
The plank is a common core stability exercise, and is effective as the spine is kept in a safe neutral position. This exercise recruits ALL core muscle groups, if engaged properly, which is likely why it is widely used in the exercise and rehabilitation worlds. The plank is a long sustained hold and therefore works on endurance of the core muscle groups as well.
An abdominal exercise with a rotational movement is recommended as there is a stronger focus on the internal and external obliques. These exercises help strengthen and stabilize; placing asymmetrical forces on your body. Core rotation strength is required in almost every sport. Common exercises include Russian twists or bicycles.
These movements focus on the upper & lower portion of the rectus abdominis or “six-pack muscle.” For the upper abs – there are multiple crunch variations. For the lower abs – mountain climbers, and leg lifts are most common. Abdominal crunches are designed to tone the core muscles of the body. These muscle groups help build endurance and tone the muscle.
Our bodies are all unique and not all exercises suit everyone. So please remember – Your core is a crucial part of the game and any core exercise should focus on the foundation first (see previous blog – Back to basics: What does “engage your core” mean?), as well as the movement itself. If you’d like to learn how to perform these exercises, or have a program designed for you. Please feel free to contact myself, Tamara Kowal, at 306-343-7776.