8 Reasons to Spend More Time on Your Core
Your core is an important, but often underestimated, part of your body. Not only is it home to most of your body's most important organs, but it helps keep you fit, strong and healthy too.
Here are 8 reasons to spend more timing training your core:
1. Get Stronger
Looking for strength gains? Don't neglect your core. A solid core can improve pretty much all your lifts - even when the link doesn't seem immediately obvious.
If you have a weak core, you'll find it harder to stay tight when you're lifting. This could see you falling forwards when you squat, rounding your lower back when you deadlift, or losing stability on the Olympic lifts.
If your main goal is to gain strength, try introducing some accessory work to train your core. If you're short on time, you can superset this with your main lift.
Some people try to compensate for a weak core with their lifting belt. This is something you should be mindful about. If you don't feel confident lifting without your belt, it could be a sign your core needs more attention.
2. Improve Sports Performance
As well as helping you improve your strength, a strong core has been linked to better performance in general.
This makes sense, as your core is such an important part of your body. It holds everything together, and helps the rest of your body work in harmony.
For example, research suggests a strong core can help improve running times. Unlike lifting, your core isn't likely to get a good workout when you run - so you'll need to add in some extra training.
3. Reduce the Risk of Injury
A weak core can cause everything from the obvious (e.g. back injuries) to the seemingly unrelated (e.g. a niggling Achilles).
Whenever you do a WOD, you're putting your body under pressure to perform complex movements quickly. Throw a weak core into the mix, and your risk of injury increases.
A strong core will help you maintain good form when you're training against the clock. It's easy to neglect core training. Most of the movements are unlikely to crop up in a competition - but that doesn't make them any less important!
4. Improve Your Balance
Do your handstands need some work? If you've got a good level of strength, it's probably your core letting you down.
Let's take a look at your handstands. Can you stay inverted for hours against a wall, but struggle to manage 5 seconds away from the support?
A strong core is essential. When you're upside down, you need as much stability as possible. You need complete control over every muscle in your core (and the rest of your body!) to keep your balance.
As well as adding some extra training, practice your handstands as much as possible. They're a great way to work your core! Try starting your handstand against the wall, and then move your feet away. Over time, you should find you can stay balanced for longer.
5. Banish Back Pain
If you've been experiencing chronic back pain, weak core muscles could be to blame.
As well as the visible muscles, such as your abs, your core also has smaller, hidden muscles that keep your body stable.
When these muscles are weak, they don't offer your back as much protection. The key here is to practice stabilising your core outside the box as well. In other words, stay mindful of your core strength throughout the day. Set a reminder on your phone, and practice engaging your core as much as possible as you go about your day-to-day life.
If you're not sure where to start with this, it might be worth spending some time with a professional who's qualified to help you.
6. Improve Your Posture
Weak core muscles have also been linked to postural instability. If you think about it, they're responsible for holding your body in place - so it makes perfect sense.
Got an office job? Find yourself slouching in your chair? This happens when your core muscles are switched off. If you notice it happening, try to engage your core. Do you notice your posture changing?
Your core muscles help out with pretty much every movement your body makes. From sitting properly in your office chair, to walking down the stairs - and, of course, squatting in the gym.
A strong core can help with postural alignment, which - in turn - helps prevent injury and back pain. It's all linked! Again, this is something you're unsure about, we recommend getting advice from the pros.
7. Because... Abs
If the other reasons haven't grabbed you, maybe this one will! If there's one thing we'd all like, it's abs!
Although your core is about so much more than visible abs, this is something we just can't ignore! If you're on a mission to reveal your abs, training them more often will certainly help. After that, it's all down to dialing in your nutrition to reveal them!
What do you think? Do you train your core regularly? Has it improved your performance? Let us know!
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