Strengthening the core muscles is useful for the proper functioning of our limbs. Core muscles are essential to every movement you make . They are used to get out of bed, carry bags, play sports or clean up.
What are trunk muscles?
They include the abdominals, but also all the muscles that make up the torso (the obliques, the pelvic muscles and those of the back). In short, everything except the arms and legs.
According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association instagram – Tastine, core muscles need to work well to:
- support the back;
- stabilize adjacent joints;
- reduce the risk of injury.
The 4 Benefits of Strengthening Core Muscles
Strengthening core muscles has many benefits for people of all ages.
- Reduction of lower back pain. 85% of Canadians will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. This is largely due to weak core muscles. Strengthening exercises improve the stability of the spine. They thus reduce the tension in the lower back.
- Improved posture. It’s the core muscles that help keep you from slouching. Good posture also preserves your spine and allows you to breathe better.
- Increase in balance. As you age, it can be more difficult to maintain your balance. By strengthening these muscles, you will improve your balance and be able to perform your daily tasks more easily.
- Improved athletic performance. No matter what sport you play, you’ll be more successful if you strengthen your core muscles. You’ll also improve your stability, prevent injuries and increase your range of motion.
Core strengthening exercises to do at home
Want to strengthen your core muscles? Here are 8 exercises recommended by physical trainer Amanda Browning, of myFitness Waterloo . These exercises do not require any equipment and they can be done at home.
1. Planks with shoulder touch
Target: trunk, glutes, arms, wrists and shoulders.
Directions: Do the plank with your hands shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing down. Keeping your hips facing the ground, raise your right hand and touch your left shoulder. Return to the initial position and do the same on the opposite side. To help you, you can spread your feet further apart or put your knees on the ground. Repeat for about 50 seconds.
2. Incline squats
Target: trunk, buttocks and legs.
Instructions: With your feet flat, bend your knees slightly to get into a squat, toes facing out. Put your hands behind your head. Contract the abdominals. Without twisting, bend your torso to the right. Bring the elbow to the knee to form an angle of approximately 45 degrees. Return to the initial position. Repeat on the left side. Repeat for 50 seconds.
3. Rope climb
Target: grip strength and back and arm muscles.
Instructions: Sit on the floor, knees slightly bent, lean the trunk backwards. Extend your right arm toward the ceiling as if climbing a rope. Repeat the movement with the left arm. Alternate sides for 5-10 seconds.
4. Swing board
Target: all core and back muscles.
Instructions: Start in a plank position. Elbows on the floor and hands shoulder width apart. Stand on your toes, contract your trunk and glutes. Step your heels forward, then back. If you can’t stand on your tiptoes, bend your knees and hold the plank position. Repeat for 50 seconds.
5. Crossed Abs
Target: lower abs and lower back muscles.
Instructions: Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and your hands behind your head. Jump by crossing and uncrossing your legs once. Bend the right leg and raise the knee as high as you can. Rotate the trunk to the right and bring your right knee to the opposite elbow. Repeat on the other side, and alternate for about 20 seconds.
6. Alternate Jack Knives
Instructions: Lie on your back. Stretch the arms and legs. Raise one arm and touch the opposite leg above your hips, contracting your abs. To increase the level of difficulty, you can also lift the trunk when you touch your leg. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat for about 40 seconds.
Instructions: Lie on your stomach with your head in a neutral position. Extend your arms and legs to form a straight line from your fingers to your toes. Slowly raise the arms and legs at the same time, contracting the muscles of the buttocks. Hold the position for a second or two. Slowly lower your limbs to the floor. Repeat for about 50 seconds.
8. Knee strikes
Instructions: Lean forward contracting your abs and lean on your hands to assume a plank position. Bend one knee to the opposite elbow, then alternate. Get back on your feet by leaning on your hands, and straighten up by unrolling the spine. Repeat for 50 seconds.
Work more than abs
These exercises work more muscles than the few sit-ups people usually do. To strengthen the core muscles, you should not only focus on the abdominals. The trunk has several different muscles . Don’t rely on your abs alone to get the results you want.
Want abs of steel?
Do you dream of having abs of steel? Strengthening the core muscles is only part of the job. These exercises will not be enough to lose belly fat. Cardiovascular exercises combined with a healthy diet are essential for a balanced workout.
There is no consensus on how often one should do abdominal exercises. But it is reasonable to do it two to three times a week . This gives your abs time to recover. To make sure you train properly, consult a personal trainer who will help you achieve your goals.
Are you injured and want to train? Want to set realistic goals? See a physiotherapist. Find one on Lumino Health .