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How to Target and Strengthen Your Core

By Alexis Mills

There are so many other ways to strengthen your core than countless crunches and holding planks. What most people don't realize is that your core isn't just about your abs, but it includes all the muscles in your torso, from the shoulders to the hips. Maintaining and strengthening the core helps with everyday life from moving couches without hurting your back to easily being able to open heavy doors.

Why Your Core Strength is Important

When you build a strong core, the easier it will be to do workouts correctly and avoid injuries. If you have a weak core, the exercises you do won't be as effective because you don't have a strong core to support you. Strengthening the core keeps the body steady and balanced during different positions. The stronger that your core is now, the better off you will be throughout your life as far as function and health. The different muscles in your core help you bend forward, bend backwards, twist either way, stabilize your spine, and move overall with ease.

How to Strengthen Your Core

When you are first starting to build your core strength, it's best to start with the basics of crunches and planks. Planks are better than crunches because they engage all of your core muscles at once. But, once you build up some more muscle, doing crunches and planks is not going to cut it anymore. Now it's time to start some full-body movements that will work your core but will also be able to use the strength you have already built to do the workouts properly. Some of the best exercises for your core incorporate the below concepts.

  • Holding your core steady - Doing exercises such as push-ups and planks with good form makes your core stay engaged and steady throughout the workout.
  • Twisting your body to make the exercise happen - Doing Russian twists or a wood chopper activate the twisting motion of the upper body to strengthen the core.
  • Using an unstable platform - Incorporating medicine balls, exercise balls, or a bosu ball into your workout will force you to balance while doing your exercise, which really engages the core. Some great examples are planks or squats with one of the pieces of balancing exercise equipment.
  • Holding a weight on a side of your body - To take your exercises to the next level, do them with weights or dumbbells. Doing them with one arm at a time forces your core to stand strong to keep you balanced.
  • Using one arm or leg - With exercises that make you lift a leg or arm force the core to adjust to the different forces.

Finding exercises that engage your core and the rest of your body will help your workouts provide optimal function. Keeping your core strong will keep your functional daily movements at their best and help your health and wellness throughout life.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Taylors, S.C.

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