Summer is literally just around the corner and with the thought of baring all on a beach, we’re definitely ready to get our abs in tip top shape! Maintaining a strong core will give you so much more than that flat tum – many other benefits will also fall into place, from reducing our likelihood of injury and back pain to better posture, confidence and overall strength.
What are the benefits of a strong core?
Preventing any nasty injuries. When we have a trim and taut tum, we are generally fitter, and our likelihood of getting injured will decrease a significant amount. Little do some of us know that most of the movements we perform throughout our everyday lives are deeply connected to our core, so having a rock solid centre will help ensure that our movements are strong and pain free.
Exude confidence – Weak core muscles usually results in slouching over at our desks. Strong core muscles will create a much healthier posture. Yes please! Our breathing will also be made easier as our lungs will open up, encouraging deeper breathing. With a strong, healthy core and body, we will effortlessly begin to carry ourselves around with, and naturally project more confidence. You will also look more confident too – Even if you aren’t feeling that way inside!
Banish away any back pain – If we do have a weak core, it is very likely that we may experience back pain which can be seriously painful and debilitating. Our abs support our spine from the front and side, so if our abs are weak, then the other muscles supporting our spines will have to work harder causing strain and muscle fatigue. If we want to train and strengthen our tummies without causing any niggly back pains or problems, we need to engage in exercises that get the whole body moving whilst stabilizing the spine
Top exercises that target your core!
Front Planks – Make sure to keep your tummy engaged and your back straight. Get in to press up position and lower yourself on to your forearms. The plank works all the deeper muscles in your tum, as well as your thigh muscles, calf, lower back, bottom and biceps! A metabolism-boosting must!
Side planks – Keep your tummy sucked in as you lift off the ground in a straight line from tip to toe and hold for 30-60 seconds. If you get the shakes, this is a good thing; you are working those muscles! This is perfect for working the obliques, the transverse abs, as well as your bottom, hips and leg muscles! It’s a full body workout in one! Start with 30 seconds each side and work up to a minute.
Hula Hooping – Hula hooping is often overlooked, but just ten minutes a day will work those inner muscles that are really hard to target with other exercises! Practise on one leg to really test your core strength and balance or hula hoop in the opposite direction for an all over core cinching workout! Top tip – constantly engage your core to really benefit from this workout!
Forward lunge with weights – With your shoulders back, lunge forward with your abs held in tightly and lifting your arms forward and up above your head keeping them nice and straight in a Y position. You need balance for this move and the tighter you hold your abs in, the easier you will be able to perform this move. If you feel you can add a dumbbell or two, this will enhance the move and core workout further. Push yourself back to starting position. The leg constitutes a huge muscle group, and the more you work them the more your muscles have to work and the more fat your burn. As you need to steady yourself, your abdominals get a great workout.
Superman – This looks pretty simple but if your core is weak, it will be a challenge. Start on your hands and knees and suck your tummy in. Gently, stretch your left hand forward and your right leg backwards so create a long stretch and hold for a few seconds before gently lowering. Repeat on both sides times ten.