As part of the #30Days60SecCoreChallenge, we have seen friends attempting a one-minute-a-day core training. While this is a great start, what is the purpose of strengthening our core, besides chasing for that lean waist and possibly, washboard abs?
What is the Core?
Our core is a complex series of muscles, extending beyond our abs, and includes everything besides our arms and legs. It is incorporated in almost every part of the human body.
The core muscles include the pelvic floor musclse, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, and the diaphragm.
Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius.
The Two Core Myths
Myth #1: You can build your core by doing squats, deadlifts, overhead presses. etc.
You might have heard from friends and even personal trainers that all you need to do is to include multi-joint movements such as squats, deadlifts, etc into your workout, and that would be enough to train your core.
It is not necessarily true.
Previously, when I went to the gym, I was not doing any squats or deadlifts, because every bilateral lift caused me lower back pain. Why did this happen? Instead of each portion of my core taking its fair share of the stress, my lower back was taking an unnecessary and inordinate amount of the load (and stress). This is equivalent to my abs and lateral stabilisers working at 50% (or more) capacity, which forced my lower back to take on not only its own fair share of workload, but also the load for the other muscles as well. This exacerbated my back pain, and ironically caused me to lay off the important compound exercises.
This is a good illustration of what complimentary core work is essential. If our core is balanced front-to-back and side-to-side, we will be able to divert the load from the lower back to the core muscles.
Myth #2: Sit-ups or Crunches are perfectly fine exercises
Crunches are what most of us do at the gym or even in the comfort of our own home. However, there are numerous studies that point to the issues with crunches. A crunch trains the rectus abdominus by pulling the rib cage down. When this happens, we increase thoracic kyphosis. When we increase the kyphosis, we loses the T-spine extension. This repeatedly puts our scapulae in a poor and awkward position.
Hence, the next time you attempt any core exercises or the #30Days60SecCoreChallenge, remember not to do anything that might injure your spine. If you would like to do sit ups or crunches, try to do it on a Swiss Ball. Alternatively, you could also try Seated Leg Tucks. If this is too easy,
My name is Willie, and I like to muse about things. Things related to me are Wellaholic.