Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Coach Nicks Weekly Workout - Importance of Core Strength

Core training is one of the most neglected parts of most training programs at local gyms. If you are new to the world of working out, core training refers to your abdominal midsection and lower back region. It is the equivalent to the stump of a tree because it is your base of support. It is what holds your spine intact and controls upper and lower body function. About every exercise you do uses some sort of core work for stability.

Core strength comes from three areas within the mid-region of your body; your abdominals, your oblique’s, and a deeper layer of muscle where most of your stability is controlled. Each of these parts of your core can be worked to gain and maintain strength. Whether you are an athlete or a weekend warrior, core strength must be a staple of your routine. It is one of the most important things to work on to maintain or build strength in all other parts of your body.

If you have worked out at Varsity House with me, or any of the other trainers, you have noticed a routine. We will most likely end each workout with some core work if we did not already include it within the workout. Along with a good warm up and post stretch I believe that core work is important and must be included within your workout. The top three types of core work that I will include are static, linear, and rotational. Most of the workouts I create focus on one specific type for multiple exercises or utilize one or two exercises for all of the three types.

A few exercises for these types of core work are listed below:

Static: Planks, Leg Lift hold, Resistance Band hold, Weighted hold, or Pushup plank hold

Linear: Situps, Leg lifts, Flutter kicks, crunches, or V-ups

Rotational: Standing rotation, Seated Russian Twists, Sprinter sit ups, or side crunches

It is important to understand that these are just examples of core exercise variations. Most of these exercises can include weight to make them more difficult. You still need to be working on your posterior chain (Lower back muscles) to have a well balanced physique. Yes it is nice to have a 6 pack or a flat stomach but you mustn’t forget to build some strength for your abs as well as your lower back to help prevent injury. Repetitive crunches might be something you are used to and have worked well to create definition in your midsection but they alone will not help you stay tight on a heavy box squat or prevent your back from snapping in two when you lift something heavy.

If core work is not a part of your daily workouts yet, it must be. Include one exercise at the end of your workout to ease into your routine. I prefer to complete core work at the end of the workout due to the strength training exercises I perform requiring a great deal of core stability such as the box squat or overhead barbell press. These two exercises require a great deal of core stability and I for one do not like to be fatigued when trying these max effort lifts. Core work is a meant to help you and prevent injury when you perform it correctly. If you want to stay healthy and add some longevity to your life at the gym for years to come, add some core work to your workouts!

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