How to build a strong and stable core

With the hotter weather fast approaching, we are often motivated to clean up our eating habits, as we ditch our winter woollies and think about wearing more revealing clothes throughout the summer months.

With singlets, crop tops and togs exposing so much flesh, our attention often turns to our stomach area. Sure, the idea of a flat, toned tummy is something most of us would love to have. But one mistake I’ve seen people make when trying to achieve this, is conducting obsessive core workouts, without any basic knowledge of what they are doing or achieving. Yes, having a flat stomach or six-pack abs (if you eat well) can be part of the reward for working your core, but there are so many more important benefits to strengthening this area of your body.

Your core is your entire support system and is incorporated in nearly every daily movement that you do. It literally helps you stay upright and can prevent injuries. Strong core muscles improve balance, which enables you to move your body with greater control and efficiency.

A good way to think of your core is to imagine it as a bridge connecting your upper and lower body. Most often, your core acts as a stabiliser and a force transfer center rather than a prime mover. Some people incorrectly think that if they just do sit ups or crunches alone, it will improve their core strength. Crunches and sit ups target the rectus abdominis (known as the abs or six- pack) and do not train all the other core muscles.

The core is a complex series of muscles extending beyond your abs, so to get the best results it is important to also train your obliques (sides), lower back, and the deeper core muscles such as the transverse abdominus (TVA). The TVA is a very deep postural muscle that influences core strength and back health, but more importantly the TVA is responsible for stabilising the core. It is located between your rib cage and your pelvis and wraps around your spine like a girdle. If you were to brace your core in preparation for being punched in the stomach, you would be activating your TVA.

If you want to improve your core strength and stability, then try my workout below, which can be done anywhere, anytime. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete and only needs to be done 3-5 times per week.

Please note: Before participating; ensure you know your limitations. If you have previous injuries or are unsure, then seek medical advice prior to starting.

Check out my Core Strength and Stability Workout!

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