September 25, 2017

Core Defined by Tera Busker

What is my core?

Your “core” is defined as your body minus legs and arms. The core is made up of approximately 29 muscles that include: the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, obliques, erector spinae, diaphragm, hip flexor group and the pelvic floor muscles.

Why should I strengthen my core?

What does the core have to do with working out? EVERYTHING!!!! When you are exercising
your legs and arms are doing the movements, but the core is really the star of the show. The core is the body’s best multi-tasker.

The Core:

• helps you stay balanced on inclines, declines and unstable terrain

• stabilizes the spine and keeps it erect

• acts as an “Internal Brace” by holding the ab muscles tight to support the back

• regulates your breathing

• assists in making your body move as efficiently as possible, which decreases the chance of injuries

If your core is weak it can lead to inefficient movements that could cause injuries or patterns of injuries. Strengthening this important area will lessen the chance of injuries, improve your posture and optimize your Overall performance.

How do I improve core strength?

Improving core strength is about selecting the right exercises for your individual needs.You are a unique individual, so your program will vary from the next person, but here are a few simple exercises that will start you down the right path:

Planks

1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.

2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.

3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.

4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.

5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

Supermans

1. Lie on your stomach on a mat with your legs extended and arms extended overhead with palms facing each other. Relax your head to align it with your spine.

2. Exhale, contract your core muscles to stabilize your spine and slowly raise both legs a few inches off the floor while simultaneously raising both arms a few inches off the floor. Keep both legs and arms extended and avoiding any rotation in each. Maintain your head and torso position, avoiding any arching in your back or raising of your head. Hold this position briefly.

Birddogs

1. Begin on hands and knees with the back straight and the abs pulled in.

2. Lift the right arm up until it is level with the body and parallel to the floor.

3. At the same time, lift the left leg up and straighten it until it is also parallel to the floor.

4. Hold for a moment, lower and repeat on the other side, this time lifting the left arm and right leg.

Side Plank

1. Lie on your side on a mat with extended legs and stacking your feet one on top of the other.

2. Place your right elbow directly under your shoulder, align your head with your spine and keep your hips and knee in contact with the exercise mat.

3. Lift your hips and knees off the mat and keep head aligned with your spine. Keep your elbow positioned directly under your shoulder.

Hip Bridge

1. Lie on your back on a mat in a bent-knee position with your feet flat on the floor.

2. Place your feet hip-width apart with the toes facing away from you.

3. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to flatten your low back into the floor.

4. Exhale and press your hips upwards off the floor into extension by contracting your glutes. At the same time press your heels into the floor for more stability. Avoid pushing your hips too high as this generally increases the amount of hyperextension (arching) in your low back.

5. Inhale and slowly lower yourself back towards your starting position.

Tera Busker is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Fitness To Go, an exclusive In Home & Private Studio Personal Training Service based out of Roberts, WI. www.fitnesstogo.net

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