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How-To & Why Strengthen Your Core

How-To & Why Strengthen Your Core

Did you know that you engage your abdominal muscles every time you sit up in bed, bend over to pick something up, or cough? Your core is the center of your body; it is responsible for supporting the back, spine and shoulders.  It’s what we use for stabilization. Without proper strength and conditioning of your core muscles, injury, aches and pains can occur more frequently.

The Benefits of a Strong Core

During the day, we’re constantly bending, twisting, stretching and reaching, often while carrying an object of weight. Even when you’re not carrying something your body must support your own body weight. Good abdominal endurance means your abs can support you throughout your day, even when you’re very active, without giving out. When this does happen other muscles kick in to try and stabilize you and compensate for weakness, which leaves you can easily cause injuries.

strong core

Strengthening your core can help build other muscles in your body as well: the way you sit, stand, and live your daily life will improve depending on the stability of your core. When your abdominal muscles are weak, your lower back holds additional pressure and weight from simple tasks like walking or sitting.
You can do simple moves to help improve these muscles such as abdominal bracing. This is known as pulling the belly button in toward the spine and hold. Continuing breathing while bracing.

Core Strength and Fat Loss…

“If I do stomach exercises, I will lose all stomach fat.”

Unfortunately you cannot spot reduce fat. No matter how badly we want to wish away certain areas, the only way we can modify is by building muscle on those certain areas. Cardio and weight lifting will cause you to lose body fat where your body is pre-programmed to lose it – often times not where we want it gone!

Does A Strong Core Guarantee Abs?

Abs are ABSolutely made in the kitchen. This is a true statement. You can do crunches and sit-ups until you can’t breathe but you still won’t see that 6-pack definition until you get focused in the kitchen! Follow the 80/20 rule: be strict with your diet, follow the guidelines 80% of the time, and 20% of the time you can stray away and have a not-so-healthy snack. Just don’t over do it.

strong core

While you’re working on self control in the kitchen, let’s get started on strengthening that core!

How To Strengthen Your Core

Every morning before you start your day, slide out of your bed and onto the floor.If you have a yoga mat, towel, or blanket it would be handy to leave it rolled out by your bedside for motivation and a reminder.

Before you get ready for the day spend 5 short minutes doing these moves and (along with your eating habits) you will start to earn that core definition and strength your body deserves.

Go for 3 rounds, resting for 30 seconds after each round. Be sure and exhale while you’re contracting those muscles – make it count!

10 crunches
10 oblique crunches
20 russian twists
30 second plank
10 inch worms
10 leg lifts
10 around the world leg lifts
Rest for 30 seconds, repeat x 3

strong core

You’ve had a long day and you’re ready for bed. You’re too tired to think about working out, but that yoga mat/blanket is still laying beside your bed as a daily reminder that you want that strong core. Hop down on the floor for 5 more quick minutes!

Remember, 3 rounds, with a 30 second rest after each round.

10 leg lifts
20 scissor kicks
15 second left side plank
20 standing oblique bends
15 second right side plank
20 bicycle crunches
Rest for 30 seconds, repeat x 3

Take-Home Message

A strong core – and eventually abs – is not only important for enhancing your self-image, but for your overall health. Focus on strengthening your core to improve your stability and balance to refrain from back and other injuries.

Always stretch, never lift more than you feel comfortable doing, and keep your posture strong.



Writer and expert

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