1. Help prevent injuries
Building a strong core in its self is a misleading statement. To get a strong core it will take more than a few token abdominal exercises. First you need to identify the reasons why you need a strong core. A strong core for a football player is completely different to a strong core for a swimmer or a golfer because the movement patterns are different and the fine motor skills involved vary greatly. It is widely understood that most injuries stem from overuse or not addressing a muscular imbalance which has been created through overuse. Improving core stability and core strength will help improve your body alignment and posture which reduces tension through joints. A strong core should be seen as the dl foundation of your training because everything else will fall apart without it. Good alignment and posture will mean better, more efficient and safer movement making you less prone to injury down the road.
2. Protect your inner organs and central nervous system
Staying healthy also means protecting those vital systems below the surface. Your core is not only where your organs and central nervous system do their busy-work, it’s also where your body’s largest (and most important) veins and arteries are based. Keeping strong core muscles will help ensure everything stays protected as you move through your day.
3. Strengthen your core to back pain
Back pain is a common side effect of a weak core but generally comes from de conditioned hamstrings and glutes. Developing strength in these two areas will provide balance to the hip girdle and improve stability, again reducing tension through the hips and knees.
Not being aware of how you sit, and not knowing how to engage the core also doesn’t help the campaign of being the owner of a strong and stable core. It is easy to think whilst sitting or laying you don’t use the core but it is in use all of the time. Gadgets like lumbar support and contraptions that supposedly make you sit better are also a problem, big companies buy them for staff safety and well-being, staff have to use them, staff ends up with poor core strength and stability because the gadget is doing the work not the core muscles.
4. Get a strong, confident posture
If your core is strong, you’ll be hard pressed not to carry yourself well. A ‘tall’ posture exudes strength and confidence. A slumped posture, on the other hand, looks weak and defeated. Understandably, if you sit a lot for work and don’t train, the latter will feel normal to you, and probably comfortable but just because it feels comfortable and normal it doesn’t mean it is right or that it won’t become a problem in the future. I’m often complemented (or made fun of) because of how I sit at a dinner table for meals but this stems from the training I do for health, and performance. Any sport (not just Triathlon) requires movement efficiency, and as explained above this will be at its best if your core is stable and strong.
5. You’ll feel better
Not only will a strong healthy body look good, you’ll feel great too. Once you’ve developed your core stability and you can start working on the more superficial core muscles to build strength you’ll to see for yourself.
Exercises like the plank, bridge and other abdominal moves are great ways to get started. With a little imagination, motivation and a couple of pieces of equipment, workouts can be fun, challenging and hugely beneficial all at the same time. Incorporate the Bosu or stability ball exercises to best improve your core stability.
As ever, the core muscle groups and it’s actual meaning is often lost in translation across the industry whether it’s a body builder wanting a 6 pack you could wash clothes on, or an endurance athlete wanting a core that will see them through the extra mile it means something different to everyone. At BP the core is at the heart of any training, and what you want to achieve determines how we make improvements to this. The BP Lift, BP45 and BP Pilates all incorporate different core exercises to keep challenging your core, mentally and physically.