Core strength refers to the development of the superficial and deep muscles in your lower abdomen – the part of your body encapsulated by the lower back, pelvis, abdominal wall and diaphragm – especially your mid- and lower-back muscles, abdominal muscles and the muscles on the side of your abdomen.
Why is it so important?
Your core muscles are responsible for breathing as well as providing the stability your body requires to move about and stay upright while doing so. Strengthening them will:
- improve your balance and flexibility,
- stabilise and align your spine and pelvis, helping to prevent and reduce back pain,
- support good posture,
- prevent injuries by making your body more resilient to everyday physical stresses from tying your laces to sitting at your work desk for hours,
- protect the organs in your abdominal cavity, and
- promote good breathing.
How to build it
Strengthening your core muscles by exercising them is easier said than done, since many of them lie deep beneath the skin and aren’t visible from the outside. The key is to work on a variety of muscles from the hips all the way to the shoulders rather than just focusing on your abs.
Here are four great core-strengthening exercises:
Supermans: Lying face-down on a mat, extend your arms straight in front of you just above ground level (or cross your hands behind your head to start with instead) and lift one leg off the ground at the same time. Hold for three seconds. Relax. Repeat with the other leg.
V-sit hold: Lie on your back, bend at the waist, extending your straightened arms and legs into the air to form a “V”. Hold for as long as possible. Relax and repeat.
Ball roll-ins: Facing downward with both hands flat on the ground and your feet resting on a large exercise ball, bend your legs at the knees to roll the ball towards your chest while squeezing your abs and keeping your back straight. Hold for a second before rolling the ball back out. Repeat.
Lunge with a twist: Slowly walk forward in a lunge for 10 steps while holding a ball out in front of you which you twist from one side of your body to the other with each lunge. Rest and repeat.
Support your core exercise routine with the fantastic range of GNC products and dietary supplements, exclusive to Clicks. Try GNC’s 100% Whey Protein powdered drink mixes in vanilla, strawberry or chocolate flavour, or their Oatmeal Protein Bar Delux to provide you with high quality protein to fuel your muscles during exercise.
GNC’s all-in-one Mega Men Sport VitaPak Programme offers all of the dietary supplements you’ll need for boosting your core strength, including beta-alanine and L-glutamine to support muscle function while you work out.