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Core Strengthening Exercises: How To Stay Safe From Back Pain

Core strengthening exercises are surely familiar to you, especially if you are working out and trying to be fit. What you may not be so aware of is that your usual core strengthening exercises may not be very safe and effective. But, aside from having flat and attractive abs, why do you need to strengthen […]

strong core muscles

Core strengthening exercises are surely familiar to you, especially if you are working out and trying to be fit. What you may not be so aware of is that your usual core strengthening exercises may not be very safe and effective. But, aside from having flat and attractive abs, why do you need to strengthen your core muscles?

Core Strengthening Exercises: Why Are They Necessary?

Our core serves as a stabilizer for complex movements; however, it is vital to understand that the abdominal muscles are not the only ones involved in core training. The muscles surrounding the spine and connecting to the pelvic floor take an essential part in the overall core strengthening exercises.

  1. Core strengthening exercises help improve our balance and stability, which is essential as we age
  2. A tough core allows us to move easily and fully.
  3. Core strengthening exercises improve our posture and make us look thinner! Now, who doesn’t like that?
  4. A strong core provides protection for the internal organs and spinal cord. It also maintains the alignment and good functions of the entire body systems.

Core Strengthening Exercises: Are Crunches Truly Effective?

Sometimes, gaining 6-pack abs is like a pursuit of the Holy Grail. Unless you are determined, disciplined and have the right knowledge of the best core strengthening exercises that work for you, it will take a lot of time and effort for you to earn those glorious abs.

Crunches are the most traditional core exercise that many individuals do to strengthen their core muscles and of course, flatten their abs. However, these are not effective exercise to train the ab. Not only ineffective, crunches can be dangerous as well. Here are the detailed reasons why you shouldn’t do crunches:

  1. They can be hazardous. For those individuals who are doing crunches, “just because others do it” and without the right anatomical knowledge and body awareness are in danger of pulling a muscle in the process, slipping a few discs in the spine, or creating other problems that may only manifest later on.
  2. They can cause spinal problem. The spine has natural curves and should not be trained to stay flat like when doing crunches. Real core strengthening exercises take this need into account.
  3. They promote bad posture. Crunches reinforce a bad habit of tucking their butt under while holding their abs in, which is the usual practice when crunching. Although the ab may strengthen in the process, the posture may also become poor.
  4. They only focus on surface muscles and not with deep core muscles. Do you know that while your 6-pack ab is nice to look at, they aren’t actually the most important muscles needed in strengthening your core muscles? A sexy ab is nothing is your core support is poor. When your deep muscles are strengthened, you would enjoy being active and may live a pain-free life.
  5. They cause neck pain and tension. Again, remember how crunches are putting so much stress on the spine that connects the neck and the pelvis. When you crunch, you create unnecessary stretch and tension around the neck.
  6. Individuals with diastic recti may make things worse for them. Diastic recti is a condition among women who have given birth. It’s a disorder caused by the separation of the rectal muscles into left and right halves, which often manifests as protruding pooch. Because this condition is often undiagnosed, young mothers often think they only need to tone their ab muscles; hence the crunching. Unfortunately, this can only worsen the condition.
  7. There are other more core strengthening exercises that are safer for you.

The Best Core Strengthening Exercises You May Want To Master

So, if you’re not doing crunches anymore, what core strengthening exercises should you do?

Strengthening your natural girdle or your Transverse Abdominis (TA).

The role of the TA is to provide stability to the spine; hence the need to be strengthened. But because of crunches and poor posture, the TA is under-trained. The best core strengthening exercises for the TA are:

  1.  deep breathingTA Deep Breathing:
  • On your back, bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor.
  • Put one hand on the belly and slide the other beneath the lumbar spine. Note that the curve is natural and don’t try to completely flatten your back on the floor.
  • Breathe in. As you do, feel your belly gently rising as your diaphragm is pulling down to bring abundant oxygen into the lungs.
  • Breathe out. As you do, feel the front side of the belly pulling inward to create a soft, hallow sensation without changing the pressure on your back hand.
  1. TA FlyingTA Flying
  • On your hands and knees on the floor. Remember to put your hands directly below the shoulders and the knees right beneath the hips.
  • Extend one leg back without outwardly rotating it. Your hips should not tip or rotate at all.
  • Feel the energy that goes out through the inside of your leg.
  • Once stable, extend the opposite arm while keeping the spine neutral mode. Remember not to crunch or allow your head to droop.
  • Maintain this position for a few seconds and take a few breaths.
  • Repeat process on the other leg and arm. You can do 5 reps for each.

Strengthening your limbs with proprioception exercises.

This exercise promotes balance and stability.

  1. Stability BallStability Ball – this helps enhance core support and will be a good equipment to use to complete your core strengthening exercises. All you have to do is sit on a stability ball to strengthen your core. You can do this at home, at work, or while watching television.

 

 

 

 

  1. Balance DiscBalance Discanother equipment you would love to have at home or in the office. The balance disc allows you to stand on it and bring your core to work! As you find your balance and your core gets fully engaged, you can add more difficulty to this exercise by closing your eyes, bending your knees or standing on one leg. Use this along other equipment for core strengthening exercises.

 

 

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Aude Seynt Martin

Written by Aude Seynt Martin

Aude is an ex corporate Lawyer with a passion for health, self development and independence which lead her to give up her former career to help others through health.


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