Weekly Challenge: Focusing on the core

The word core is all over the fitness world.  You hear it in gyms, read it in fitness magazines and even hear it in infomercials touting the best way to strengthen your core.

This week we will cover what your core is, why it’s so important to keep strong and some exercises to train your core muscles.

What is Your Core?

Your core is quite simply, the trunk of your body.  It is not only your abdomen, which is commonly referred to as the core, but your back muscles, the muscles surrounding your spine, your pelvic floor muscles and your side body musculature.  In total there are 29 muscles that make up your core and together these core muscles create a lot of the body’s movements.

Here are a few of the main movements and muscles of the core:

core muscles

Trunk Flexion or Bending Forward is completed by the rectus abdominis, and trunk extension or bending back is completed by the erector spinae muscles.

trunk flex and ext

Trunk rotation, or twisting from side to side, is completed by the internal and external oblique’s.

trunk rotation

Lateral trunk flexion, or bending to the side, is completed by the use of all three of the above muscles on either the right or left side of the body, depending on which way you bend.  If you bend to the right, you are using the right side rectus abdominis, erector spinae and obliques.

trunk bend

To draw your abdomen in, or suck in your belly, you are using the transverse abdominis.

The multifidi are the muscles responsible for keeping your spine stable at rest and during movement.

The diaphragm is an important muscle for breathing and the pelvic floor muscles support the lower body organs.

The core muscles essentially form a box that helps not only with basic bodily movements but support you with balance, posture and help prevent injuries such as low back pain.

Core exercise of the Day: The Crunch

A great exercise to strengthen some of your core muscles in the crunch.  A crunch works your rectus abdominis and is assisted by your obliques.

Your challenge for today is to set aside some time to incorporate crunches into your exercise routine.

Beginners: 1 set of 10-15 repetitions.
Intermediate: 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions
Advanced: 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions

Let me know how you did!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s