Having a strong core doesn’t necessarily mean having a twelve-pack of abs, zero body fat, and not a skin fold in sight. Strengthening your core is all about keeping your muscles in a healthy state and helping to ward off backache. As we grow older, our muscles can strain or pull a little more easily than we are used to. If you’ve ever been to the gym only to find that you’re tweaking an old injury more often, the chances are it’s because your core isn’t strong enough. Core stability exercises and workouts help to reduce the chances of chronic lower back pain and can help you to manage back pain more effectively if you are suffering. Take a look at these three simple ways to strengthen your core.
Back in the early 1990s, you’d head to a gym to see many a bronzed Adonis doing hundreds of sit-ups in a rep. While the flashy sit-up is still a worthy exercise, the humble plank is just as strengthening for your core, even if it doesn’t look as impressive when you are giving it a go. To get the most out of your strengthening exercise, you must ensure that you demonstrate proper plank form to really tighten those abs. If you do suffer from back niggles, the plank is a more gentle exercise to partake in rather than sit-ups or crunches.
The plank uses muscles at the front, side and rear of your core. There are a few ways of performing the plank, but at its most basic, you rest your body weight on your forearms and balance your core on the tips of your toes. You generate a plank shape and try to hold the form for as long as possible. Do it properly and you will feel your abs begin to pull and tighten and burn. Build up your stamina in the plank over weeks and you will soon be able to hold your form for minutes rather than seconds.
If you have never attempted yoga because you deem it as a hippy sort of activity, you need to think again. Yoga is no longer the realm of dreadlocked hippies, chanting oms, enjoying the intoxicating scents of jasmine incense sticks. Yoga is an exercise utilised by yummy mummies and bodybuilders alike to strengthen the core. A range of postures are utilised to stretch your body into strange shapes and stances. Coupled with unique breathing exercises, and you will be able to push your body into more flexible and supple positions. There is an element of balance in yoga that enables your core muscles to be utilised and strengthened.
If you struggle with some of the more intense stretches, you can head to a beginners’ yoga session or have a go from the comfort of your own home with the free vlog tutorials now available online. Many people get a real endorphin kick from yoga, and find themselves getting addicted very quickly.
Dead Bugs And HIIT
Combining dead bug exercises with a HIIT session enables you to burn fat while strengthening your core. However, it is not for the faint-hearted. Dead bugs are the sort of exercises that look simple but can cause a lot of muscle burn. Lie with your back on the floor and your knees raised so that your calves are parallel to the floor. Then lower your left leg while bringing your right arm. Do this with the opposite side. Your back should remain in contact with the floor at all times. Try ten reps first and see how you go.
To combine the HIIT element, don’t stop at ten reps and rest before starting again. You need to go straight into a static cardiovascular exercise to burn fat. Do your ten dead bugs, leap up and then sprint on the spot for thirty seconds. Or you can do jumping jacks, head onto your exercise bike, or do the dreaded burpees. This high-intensity workout will force your body to burn calories and work your abdominal muscles even further.
Heading to the gym is out of the question at the moment because of Covid-19. Many people may be anxious returning even when gyms do reopen their doors. Don’t use this as an excuse to neglect your core.
You can partake in every one of these simple core strengthening exercises from the comfort of your own home to ward off backache, enhance your stamina, tone up, and maybe even shift a couple of lockdown pounds.