Are You Benefiting From Your Core Training?
(Written by Frances Michaelson)
The other day I received an email from a fitness enthusiast, saying that he did 117 abdominal crunches a night, yet was experiencing no strength gains. My immediate reaction was, “Yikes,” wondering if his back and neck were not destroyed from way too many repetitions of the same movement pattern.
I honestly thought that by now most people realized that MORE is not always better.
There are many benefits to having a strong core area, but it is very important to strike a balance in the muscle groups you are targeting. The most important thing to understand is that our core possesses two sets of muscles with two different roles. It is important to train all the muscles, striking a balance to promote a strong core.
We possess INNER CORE muscles (transverse abdominus, diaphragm, pelvic floor and multifidus). These muscles play a role in the control of respiration and continence.
The OUTER CORE muscles ( internal/external obliques, erector spinae, rectus abdominus and gluteal muscles) act to control and resist movement, and provide postural stability.
If you are someone who has been led to believe that crunches, sit ups and ab roll ups are the only way to train your abdominals, you should know that there are other ways to explore and deepen the integrity of your core! Planks, side planks, and bridges are examples of exercises, that when performed with deep breathing, encourage co-contraction between the inner and outer core muscles, strengthening your abdominals.