The awareness for fitness is steadily increasing especially among the female lot. Many fitness institutions, campaigns and brands propagate the idea of a fit core but restrict themselves to only toned abs. The startling fact is that abs comprises only a small portion of the core. ‘Core’ covers varying muscles with important functions such as rendering support and stability to the spine and pelvis and run along the whole length of the trunk.
Core exercise forms an integral part of all rounded fitness regime. However, these are frequently missed out on especially in case of women. Here’s why focusing on your core is crucial:
A Good Core Is the Need of the Hour
Exercises that focus on your core will help train all the muscles in the pelvis, hips, abdomen and lower back to function in harmony. This ultimately makes way for steady balance and much better stability. You’ll notice the improvement in your daily activities or even while engaging in rigorous activities. This is the reason why almost all sports activities have dependency on core muscles plus, a healthier core further improves the posture to not only make you look leaner but also reduces the chances of stress related injury.
Start Experiencing a Fitter Core
Yes, and that too beginning from this very minute! Here comes an array of effective and easy to follow exercises. Are you ready? Great, let’s win the battle against ‘sagging’ era.
Abdominal Crunch- The above image is imitated by many for a very solid reason- Which is? If done in accordance with the basic rules, it really works! Start off by lying flat on your back while keeping the knees bent. Position your hands behind the head. Maintain the position of keeping the feet absolutely flat on the mat. If you want, you can even cross the arms over your chest. Raise only your head and shoulder blades off the floor. Breathing must not be overlooked. Release the air while rising and inhale while returning to the initial position. Take note: You must not use your hands to assist in raising the upper half. Be gentle on your neck too.
Floor Bridge- This exercise targets and strengthens the muscles known as gluteus for a firmer butt and hamstrings too. Here’s how you should go about it.
Lie decumbent on your back and bend your knees. Keep the feet flat and separated at a distance approximately equivalent to the width of hips. Arms must be as relaxed as possible. Now, as you lift the hips, squeeze your buttocks simultaneously creating a straight line (running from the knees to shoulder) Hold this position while counting till five and finally lower the raised body slowly. This movement relieves much of the pressure that builds on the spine. It also stretches and provides strength the spine stabilising muscles.
To increase the level of difficulty, you can lift either foot off the mat and stretch it up towards the ceiling. Repeat the same for 5-6 times and switch the leg.
The Plank- This effective pose is included in both, Pilates and yoga workout. Begin by lying face down keeping the arms bent, elbows pointing out. Palms must face down and under the shoulder. Make use of your arms and push yourself higher till the arms are straight, leaving only the hands and toes to make floor contact. Keeping the abdominal muscles engaged is a must. Though this exercise involves no movement, it successfully targets the deep muscles in the abdomen.
Side Plank-Though quite similar to the above mentioned exercise, this one works on your obliques as well! The core muscles get trained to perform a bracing movement.
How to perform it? We’ll explain. Once again, lay on either side (say for example- right side) put your weight on the right elbow but keep in line with the shoulder. Don’t go beyond the shoulder level. Try and keep your neck relaxed. Move hips away from the floor, making use of the abdominal muscles that work so as to stabilise the trunk. Repeat the same for the other side. Fully extend the other hand for better balance. Tip: You must never hold your breath during the exercise. Also, you can always keep the feet staggered for more ease.
It’s time to put your core muscles to further test! How? By using stability ball for your workout that will help break the monotony of usual exercises. These are inexpensive add-ons with many benefits! Achieve noticeable results with Knee Tuck exercise.
Support both the legs on the ball and face towards the floor taking the support of both palms (checkout the above image). Try to keep the stability ball under the shin while keeping the hands in line with the shoulder. Contract your abdominal muscles, bend the knees and pull them in a forward direction (as shown below). Uncoil and repeat the same for ten times.