When you think of core training, you probably think of endless crunches and planks. You might think of six-pack ab muscles on beach-ready bodies. But you may not think about all the other things a strong core does for you.
A quick anatomy lesson: the core is made up of all the muscles that surround the trunk, including the muscles of your abdomen, back, chest, and hips. The biggest job of the core is to transmit force between the upper and lower body. This is to say, it keeps one half of your body stable while the other one moves. Strengthening the core through a variety of different exercises will improve your performance and overall fitness.
Here are some of the reasons you should be trying to integrate core work into your gym time.
Strengthening Your Core Increases Your Flexibility and Balance
Your core's main job is to stabilize your spine and limbs. It helps you keep your balance and move freely, and training core stability exercises have been shown to lessen older adults' risk of falling. Training your core improves your balance by teaching the muscles of your abdomen, hips, and spine to work together, in synchronization, keeping you on your feet. When aiming to do core work to improve your balance, look for exercises that challenge your stability like exercises involving suspension training, like our TRX Small Group Training.
Core Work Allows you to Perform Activities of Daily Living
In every day life, we reach, lift, press, and twist. The ability to perform these activities without injuring the spine is highly dependent on the strength of your stabilizing core muscles. By increasing your core strength, you can improve your posture, reduce your risk of back pain, and more efficiently perform activities in work and at home. When you're working to improve core strength, more functionally, think of performing activities in multiple directions.
Improve Your Athletic Performance by Training Your Core
By challenging your core, you provide your limbs a stable base. Think about how different a bench press feels when you engage your whole body instead of just lifting the bar. That stability gives you a base to push or pull from, making the whole exercise easier. Similarly, core training will increase your strength and power in your athletic pursuits, which can be anything from running, to dancing, to picking up a heavy object.
If you'd like to learn more about how training your core can help you reach your goals, make sure to check out Merritt Clubs. You can work with one of our Personal Trainers who will help you design a program that meets your fitness needs.