|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
Strong To The Core of Your Being - The Benefits Of Core Training
If you were to ask me which muscle group in your entire body you could work to get the greatest benefits in the shortest amount of time, I would tell you without hesitation, "the core." Strengthening the core can realize tremendous benefits to anyone regardless of his or her training experience and can do so very quickly.
But what is the core?
The core, as it's known in strength training circles, consists of all the muscles in your abdominal and lower back areas. This includes all the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus and intercostals) as well as the muscles associated with the spine (the erector spinae group) and the hip flexors (iliacus and psoas, collectively known as the iliopsoas).
These muscles all work in harmony to provide stabilization for your body and to transfer power from the legs to the upper body and vice versa. The core muscles also function to keep your insides in, where they belong!
And why is strengthening the core so important?
Weak core muscles contribute to all kinds of problems in the body, the most prevalent of which is lower back pain. By strengthening the muscles that help support the spine and improve posture, you can dramatically decrease the symptoms of lower back pain.
Picture your spine as a column of soda cans stacked one on top of the other. If you wanted to keep that column standing up under stress, what do you think would work better: a "tenser" bandage (as is used for wrapping injured ankles) or Scotch tape? Sure the tape would keep the cans together but the cans wouldn't receive a whole lot support, would they?
When you strengthen the muscles of the core, you are in effect turning that Scotch tape into a nice, tight "tenser" bandage, increasing the amount of support that your spine gets.
Core training also has the potential to greatly improve sports performance. Watch a baseball pitcher throw a pitch in slow motion. The power of the throw starts at the legs, gets transferred through the abdominal area (a.k.a. the core) then ends up in the arm where the ball is released. Imagine how much speed and power would be lost from that throw if the core muscles couldn't efficiently transfer the force from the legs to the throwing arm.
The core is the one area of the body that will always give you a great return on your investment.
So how do I train my core muscles?
Exercises that work the abdominals and the lower back are the staples of core training. Also, exercises that target the stabilization and power-transfer duties of the core muscles are very effective.
The most basic abdominal training exercise is the standard crunch. You can go to the following URL to see the proper technique for this exercise:
But I've got an exercise for you that blows the standard crunch right out of the water. The equipment required for this exercise: one rolled-up towel.
The exercise is known as the Abdominal Sit-Up. It uses a sit-up-like movement but focuses directly on the abdominal muscles rather than the hip flexors (which a regular sit-up does). It is also very safe for your lower back. Another advantage it has over the standard crunch is that it targets the stretched (arched back) range of motion of the abs, which is totally missed in standard floor crunch.
How To Do It:
Lie on your back on the floor. Roll up a towel or mat and slip it underneath your lower back, just above the waistband (the size of the towel affects your body position during this movement - use a fairly large towel).
Your knees should be bent about 90 degrees. Keep your feet close together and knees fairly wide apart. This prevents the hip flexors from having a direct line of pull, helping to minimize their involvement.
Do not anchor your feet or have someone hold them down. This automatically activates the hip flexors. You will get the most out of this exercise by minimizing their involvement.
The difficulty of this exercise depends on where you hold your hands. The hardest position is above your head at arms-length, then beside your head, then across your chest, then straight down between your legs or at your sides. Start with the easiest first then progress to the other positions as you get stronger.
You are now ready to begin.
You can see pictures of how this exercise is done by going to:
Incline Ab Sit-Ups
If you are a beginning trainer, this is a good starting variation of the Abdominal Sit-up.
Set an incline sit-up board to a slight incline. If you don't have an incline sit-up board, you can use an adjustable incline bench, a decline bench, a Step platform with a riser under one of the ends or a flat bench with something under one end. You can even use a propped-up 2 x 6 board!
Your head should be on the higher end with your feet placed on the floor.
The execution is exactly the same. The only difference is that the tension on the abs is much less due to the greatly improved leverage in this position, allowing even people feel that their abs aren't strong enough to do the exercise.
Lying Superman Raises - An Exercise For The Lower Back
Though this exercise has a rather unique name, it is an excellent strengthening exercise for the lower back that you can do almost anywhere.
How To Do It:
Lie face down on the floor with your arms stretched out directly overhead (like Superman flying, hence the name).
Raise your left arm and right leg into the air at the same time, also raising your chest slightly off the floor. Hold there for a second and squeeze the muscles of your lower back. Lower your limbs back to the ground then raise your right arm and left leg and hold for a second.
You can push down with the hand that is on the ground to help raise your other arm and chest higher off the ground.
This exercise, even though it only uses your limbs as resistance, provides an excellent way to strengthen the lower back muscles.
These two exercises will give you a good place to start with core training. You can begin improving your core strength by doing these exercises 3 times a week for 2 to 3 sets each.
Make core training a priority in your exercise routine and you will rapidly reap the benefits of having a stronger, more injury-proof midsection and back.
If you have any questions about core training or the exercises described here, go to: http://www.fitstep.com/Misc/Contactus.htm
About The Author
Nick Nilsson is Vice President of BetterU, Inc., an online exercise, fitness, and personal training company. Check out his latest eBook "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of" at http://www.thebestexercises.com or visit http://www.fitstep.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to BetterU News, his fitness newsletter at email@example.com.
Total Nutrition in Watertown offers supplements to build muscle, lose weight - WatertownDailyTimes.com
How To Avoid Injury From Poor Exercise Performance!
Another key secret is your exercise form. Perfect form is critical when performing any specific exercise in your own routine.
Build Muscle and Boost Your Training Intensity Now
Build Muscle with a unilateral weight training program. Whether you are feeling stale on your current routine or just looking for a way to improve your workouts and start making progress again, unilateral training is a perfect way to increase the results of your training time and help you build muscle.
Ace Abs Without Crunches, Cradles, Or Sit-ups!
I know what many of you are thinking reading the title of this article. I also thought the same once.
Increase Your Training Intensity - Partial Repetitions
You can only build muscle tissue if you can generate progressively stronger muscular contractions, so this calls for an emphasis on finding ways to increase exercise intensity. This should not be confused with exercise duration as maximum training intensity will actually shorten the time needed to achieve maximal muscular growth.
Weight Gain Myths
The vast majority of myths about weight gain are mostly passed down from "gym talk" and so-called experts who know nothing about the body's workings.Myths that lead to wasted time, frustration and if are taken blindly as truth, can really set back your progress in the gym.
Before and After Photos in Fitness Magazines
Some supplement companies will go to any lengths to prove their products' effectiveness. But sometimes the evidence isn't quite what it's cracked up to be.
The Skinny on Muscle Imbalances - Restoring Order As A Means Of Eliminating Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. Injury, illness, herniated disks and poor posture are just a few.
Exercise The Right Way - The Flat Bench Press
Other articles in this series looked at a number of exercises, mainly from the perspective of developing a comprehensive muscle building program. Sometimes we take things for granted, especially when it comes to performing the basic exercises that constitute the core of most bodybuiders' training regimes.
Perfects Abs - Three Ab Routines To Show Your Six Pack
Crazy, ripped, hard abs. That's the key to showing an awesome body.
Get A Grip! Get More Out Of Your Biceps Curls
Would you like to know how to get more out of every single dumbell curl you do? Amazingly enough, you can do this simply by changing where you grip the dumbell.First, I'm going to tell you what the trick is, then I'm going to tell you exactly how and why it works.
7 Surefire Strategies For Fat Loss!
1. Weight Training.
Boost Your Anabolic Hormone Levels - Naturally!
Anabolic steroid use appears to be on the rise. With the great increase in modern recombinant DNA technology, steroids such as growth hormone, growth factors and testosterone-based analogs have become increasingly more available and affordable.
What Is Strength Training?
Traditional strength training consists of performing one to three (or more) sets of exercises on a specific, isolated muscle group. One rep, or repetition, equals one complete movement of the exercise from start to finish.
Four Powerful Tricks for Successful Lucid Dreaming
By definition, Lucid Dreaming means "conscious awareness during the dream state." But how can this be? Every book I've ever read on dreaming has described the dream state as being an entry into the unconscious, so how can you possibly be conscious during dreaming, and be able to enter your dreams.
The Role Of Whey Protein In Achieving Significant Muscle Gain
Most bodybuilders would agree that supplementing with whey protein is an important element in achieving serious muscle gains. This article will examine the facts relating to whey protein as a supplement and help you decide whether you need to follow this particular strategy.
15 Muscle Building Rules for Skinny Guys and Gals!
WHY CAN'T YOU GAIN WEIGHT?Though there may be many reasons why you may be thin, the most apparent reason is because of your genetics. If your parents are naturally thin or have a small body frame, then you will most likely have the same small body type.
Know Your Muscles - The Lower Body
Becoming familiar with the muscles that make up your body has more benefits than simply allowing you to talk shop with your training partners. The more familiar you are with the muscles you're working, the better you'll be able to judge what's needed to make improvements.
Dumbbell Exercises That Suit Beginners
The aim for beginners to weight training must be to lay the foundations for the intensive workouts that their bodies will eventually be subjected to. Obviously successful bodybuilding involves bringing together disparate elements such as nutrition and rest but choosing the right exercises is crucial.
Target: Rear Delts: One Simple Movement and They'll be on Fire!
The Bent-Over Lateral Raise is one of the most common exercises used for working the rear or posterior deltoids. For most trainers, it can be difficult to really feel the rear delts working during this movement as the larger, stronger muscles of the back have a tendency to take over.
Deep Muscle Soreness And Body-Shock Fatigue
In my experience there are two distinct types of muscular fatigue associated with intense progressive resistance training (only intense training is sufficient to trigger muscle hypertrophy) and these two types should be recognized and understood. The first type of fatigue is direct muscle soreness and is the result of a particular exercise targeting a specific muscle.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.