Monday, 8 March 2010

The Core Isn't There Just To Look Pretty

Imagine if we tried to get out of bed, sit up or stand up straight without using our core muscles. What about if we tried kicking, spinning or even doing a push up? We still engage the core muscles, and yet, it seems people only want to work their core muscles to gain a certain aesthetic look; the six pack, the V-line. Bruce Lee questioned that without a strong core, what would support the arms for punches, or the legs for kicking let alone jumping.

The core has variable definitions, but everyone seems to agree it's the body minus the legs and arms (the trunk/torso) or the muscles that connect the upper body to the lower body (2). These muscles include the abdominals, the obliques, the back muscles, the hip flexors and rotators and shoulders (3, 4). These muscles provide strength and flexibility even if you can't see them.

Good core strength helps posture, alleviates aches and pains commonly associated with back problems and helps stabilise the body through nearly every movement that is made (2). Dancers, yoga practitioners and gymnasts possess amazing core strength as their disciplines call for it, and you don't necessarily see female gymnasts with six packs that men have, but they still can do incredible feats of strengths without the core muscles being seen (5).

There are so many different exercises to work the core muscles that you choose a series of your favourites targeting particular areas of your core. Some harder ones include V Ups and Headstand Leg Raises.

Here is a list of 19 core bodyweight muscle exercises;

2.Side Crunch
3.Double Side Crunch
4.Sit Ups
5.Reverse Crunch
6.Reverse Crunch Twists
7.Single Leg Circles
8.Russian Twists
9.Hip Twists
10.Double Crunch
11.Flutter Kicks
12.V Ups
13.Straight Leg Raises
14.Plank Ups
15.Side Plank Raises
16.Hanging Knee Raises
17.Headstand Leg Raises
18.Side Plank Twists (with Rotation)
19.Hanging Leg Raises

View the Core Bodyweight Exercise Guide here.

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