I was told years ago to think of your core as a “vertical cylinder”. At the top of the cylinder, you have your diaphragm and at the bottom you have your pelvic floor. The outside of the cylinder is composed of your internal and external obliques, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, erector spinae and multifidi. A mouthful, I know! All these muscles work together to help you move, balance, breathe, stand straight, and make it to bathroom without any accidents. Kind of a big deal, right? You can understand why it’s so important to keep this area strong and healthy.
Sadly, most people are weak in at least one of these muscles which can result in a cascade of issues like lower back pain, early arthritis, progressive scoliosis, incontinence, poor posture, and bad balance - just to name a few. The great news is - strengthening your core is easier than you think! I want to be clear...you don’t need 6-pack abs to have a strong core, nor do you need to do planks, crunches, or a million reps on the ab machine at the gym to get there. All you need for a great core workout is instruction on simple movements that engage the right muscles. You don’t need machines, weights, or any special equipment. I tell my patients all the time - a great core workout is often more of a “mental workout” than a physical one, although it can be definitely be both if done correctly!
So where is a good place to start and what exercises are “good” or “bad”? With all the gimmicks, ads, videos, and classes to choose from it’s easy to end up like Alice in Wonderland down a rabbit hole. The truth is that everyone has different needs and ability levels so it’s important to choose something that works for you. A 60-minute “Belly Buster” video may not be the best choice for someone who is new to exercise or has a bad back. Just like a 20-minute “Beginners Guide To A Stronger Core” wouldn’t be the best choice for someone who has been practicing Pilates for 10 years.
We recommend starting with something easier than you perceive your ability level to be and slowly progress from there. We find a lot of people overestimate their core strength or have never actually been taught the proper form. Without that, you won’t get the full benefit of the exercise and you also make yourself vulnerable to injury. We see it happen all the time!
By now you understand the importance of a strong and healthy core. It helps with your posture, breathing, bladder control, balance, protects your spine from deterioration and injury and helps to prevent undue strain on your hips and knees.
For all these reasons I’ve just mentioned, we have a lot of patients ask us for the best exercises to build a strong core. For weeks now Christy has been working hard behind the scenes to bring you just that – and we are super happy to announce that our online “Core Strength Series” is now available!
In this series of classes, Christy guides you all the way from learning basic form and principles to more advanced core workouts. She reveals our favorite core progressions and offers you step-by-step guidance on how to build and maintain your core strength safely and comfortably!
As I mentioned, a great core workout doesn’t need any bells or whistles. All you need are easy to follow instructions and tips to help guide you along the way so you can engage the proper muscles and continue to build from that.
Give us a call or send us a message to see how you can get started today!