Even if you’re new to fitness, you’ll probably have heard of core muscles before, but what are they and how can you benefit from adding core exercises into your routine?
Core muscles are essentially the muscles that make up the trunk of your body. That is, the abs, back and hips. They’re arguably the most important muscles in your body, as they keep you upright, give your body strength and mobility, and maintain your posture and balance.
Having core strength is, therefore, really important. If your core is in tip-top shape, you can move around easily without experiencing any pain. You prevent back injuries from occurring. Your posture is improved, and you don’t slouch, and your appearance can be improved. When you appreciate the many benefits to be gained from focusing on your core strength, you’ll realise why it’s so important to include core exercises into your workout routines.
If you’re new to core exercising, there are lots of routines you can follow to master the basics. Most people assume that crunches are a vital component of exercising your core muscles, but this is actually incorrect. Crunches do little to improve your core and are easy to perform in the wrong way, so they’re best avoided. However, here are a few suggestions that every newbie can follow:
This exercise gets to work on all core muscles. It can improve posture and keep your waistline toned. It’s also pretty easy to master, so ideal for beginners. Begin the pose in a push-up position. Bend your elbows and rest your forearms on the floor. Keep the rest of your body stretched out straight. Hold this pose for around two minutes.
Another key exercise that targets the core muscles, this pose begins by resting your right elbow on the floor as you lie on your side. Bend your knees slightly. Make sure your right elbow is aligned under your right shoulder. Slowly lift your hips off the ground and tighten your core. Hold this position for half a minute or so, and then switch sides.
Bird dog crunch
Balance and stability are strengthened in this pose, but the abs and lower back muscles are also given some attention. Start by kneeling on a mat. Extend one arm forward, while stretching the opposite leg out backwards, keeping it straight. Bring the elbow and knee towards you, so that they touch. Draw in your abs. Repeat for around 10 reps, and then swap sides.
Seated leg lifts
Ideal for strengthening abdominal muscles, and also great for toning hamstrings, this pose involves sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Lean back slightly and place your hands on either side of you. Lift one leg several inches off the ground and hold the pose for a few seconds. Place the leg down again. Repeat with the other leg. Alternate each leg for a minute or two.
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