The ‘Ins & Outs’ of CORE STABILITY
By Maebh Moriarty
For anyone who has had the pleasure (I hope…) of attending my boot camp or PT sessions you are probably sick of hearing me telling you to “activate your core”, “tighten up your core muscles”, “keep your core muscles switched on” or something to that effect. Well, for those of you who are not completely sure of what I am harping on about (and not just because I have this funny Irish accent…) you should read on to learn the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ elements of core stability.
Think of your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re hitting a tennis ball or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it.
Core exercises are a crucial part of any exercise regimen. These exercises strengthen the body, particularly the pelvis, hip, and lower back areas.
1. Power to work harder when exercising
2. More control when exercising
3. Strengthens entire body
4. Improve posture
5. Stabilize lower back
6. Improve balance & coordination
7. Enhance flexibility
8. Injury prevention & rehabilitation
9. Flatten & strengthens abs
When you have good core stability, the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen work in harmony. They provide support to your spine and help transmit increased power and performance for just about any activity.
How to activate/engage your core?
- Place two fingers on the bones on the front of your hips.
- Move your hands in an inch towards your belly button and down an inch towards your toes.
- You should now be directly over the transverse abdominal muscle.
- When you contract your core correctly you should feel a gentle tightening under your fingers, as if you took in your belt one extra notch.
Lets get you started!!
Begin strengthening your core today by following these four basic moves:
1. Transverse Abdominal (TA) Activation
|How to perform the exercise: Lie on your back on a table or mat, knees up with feet flat on table/mat; follow the instructions above to engage the core.Sets/reps/time:Contract and hold for 10 seconds – Repeat x 10.|
|How to perform the exercise: Lie on your back on table or mat with hips and knees bent to 90 degrees with feet flat on floor and arms palm-down at sides; activate/engage your TA muscles and maintain throughout exercise; slowly raise your butt off the table/mat by using your glutes and hamstrings until your torso is in line with thighs.Sets/reps/time:Option 1: Hold for 3-5 seconds & repeat x 10-20 times.
Option 2: Hold for 20-30 seconds & repeat x 3-5 times.
|How to perform the exercise: Lie on your stomach on a table or mat with your forearms/elbows on the table/mat; rise up so that you are resting on your forearms and toes. Elbows should be directly underneath the shoulders. Maintain TA muscles activation/engagement the whole; your back should be completely straight.
4. Side Plank
|How to perform the exercise: Lie on your side with your elbow underneath your shoulder; rise up so that you are resting one forearm/elbow and foot on same side.
Note: If you cannot hold your body up in this position, try and bend the bottom leg, and push off from the knee instead of the foot.
SO – now that you are all clued in why not try adding some core stability exercises into your weekly routine. It won’t be long before your body is reaping the benefits!
*For more exercises and any other further information please do not hesitate to ask any of the Fitness Keeper team, we would be more than happy to offer our advices!!
Article written by Maebh Moriarty.
Edited by Steph Kerr.