Sunday, November 19, 2017
Health

Find the strength within: Build up your core muscles

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Let's talk a little about the most talked about muscle group in our bodies: the abominable abdominals.

Many times, avid exercisers go into overtime attempting to crunch away that body fat over their abs, not knowing, or simply ignoring, the reality that there is no such thing as spot reducing. You need to become a friend of cardio to burn off those stored calories.

And they tend to neglect the other core muscles. The abdominal muscles should be just part of your game plan, as they are only a small part of the core. Instead of performing hundreds of crunches, you need to focus on the entire core, not just the abs, by exercising a variety of muscles from the hips to the shoulders.

Where are the muscles of the core? To simplify things, the core consists of major muscles that move, give support and stabilize the spine. Take away legs and arms and you pretty much have the core.

What do core muscles do? The core muscles are involved in every movement you do. They work together to protect the spine and the surrounding muscles from injures during movement, stabilizing our bodies so we can maintain our balance. Because a strong core develops good posture, it also helps to alleviate back pain.

Standing core exercises: Try adding standing core exercises to your repertoire. These compound exercises target multiple muscles, and because you are standing in various positions, you will strengthen your balance and coordination. Plus, by targeting several muscle groups at once, you will burn more calories.

Biggest abdominal crunch mistakes

Going too fast: Using too much momentum and doing too many repetitions can cause excessive strain on the spine.

Lifting too high: When performed correctly, ab exercises do not require a lot of motion. Lifting the upper back and shoulders is all that is needed. Lift any higher and your hip flexors and lower back will be taking over. Involving the lower back can place too much strain on it.

Pulling on the neck: Think of the core doing the work with a straight back. Don't pull your neck forward.

Straight leg crunches: Bend your knees to protect your back.

Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Contact Sally Anderson at [email protected]

     
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