5 Secrets To Building Strong Core Muscles

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The abdominals are the most difficult muscle groups to train, but they are also very important. The stronger the abdominals the more stable the back and overall physique.

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Strong abdominals contribute to “core strength”; this is the ability of the abs and back to correctly support your spine. The only way to achieve this is with that dirty word: exercise.

The best core exercises may surprise you. It’s not enough to just do ab crunches and sit ups. To build a strong core you need to exercise a variety of muscles from your hips to your shoulders. Most people think of the core as a nice six-pack, or strong, toned abs, but the truth is that the abdominal muscles are a very small part of the core.

Exercises that Build Core Strength

Core strengthening exercises are most effective when the torso works as a solid unit and both front and back muscles contract at the same time, multi joint movements are performed and stabilization of the spine is monitored. Abdominal bracing is a basic technique used during core exercise training. To correctly brace, you should attempt to pull your navel back in toward your spine. This action primarily recruits transverse abdominus. You should be able to breathe evenly while bracing and no hold your breath.

There are many exercises that will strengthen the core. A large number of core strengthening exercises can be done at home with no equipment while some require the use of equipment and gadgets.

What Are the Best Core Exercises?

Core exercises are most effective when they engage many muscles throughout the torso that cross several joints and work together to coordinate stability. Core muscles need to work as a unit, contract at the same time, across joints in order to stabilize the spine. Some of the best core exercises are simple bodyweight exercises, including the following.

1. Hip Lift

Begin by lying on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Raise your legs so they are straight up toward the ceiling and perpendicular to your torso.

Pull your navel toward your spine and lift your hips a few inches off the floor, keeping your legs pointed straight up. Then slowly lower your hips back to the floor.

2. Oblique Leg Extension

Start by lying on one side, top leg straight.  As you pull your leg in, crunch your elbow to your knee.

Extend leg to return to start.  Don’t let your leg touch the ground, and when the leg is fully extended your butt should be tightly squeezed rotating your leg out ever so slightly.

3. Plank

Begin lying on the floor, face down.  Prop your upper body onto your forearms so that your elbows are directly under your shoulders.  Keeping your body straight, push yourself up so your weight is supported by your toes and forearms.  Be sure to keep your abs tight, back straight, and legs in a locked position.  Hold for 30 seconds and release.

4. Supermans

Begin by lying on your stomach, arms straight overhead.

Alternate raising your right arm with your left leg, and vice versa. Each side counts as 1/2 of a rep. Your stomach muscles should be engaged when you lift up. Think about your arm and leg not only being pulled up, but also out.

Alternate for desired reps, trying not to rest your leg or arms on the ground.

5. Heel Touches

Place a mat on the floor and lay down on your back. Bring your knees up so your thighs are at right angles to your calves.

Put your hands down by your side, with you palms facing the floor. Get into the starting position by slightly raising your shoulder blades off the floor.

Reach down with your right hand as far as possible. Now repeat the reach with your left hand.


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