The Facts About Your Core and Abs
Many people still cling to the outdated idea that the goal of an ab or core workout is to have a flat belly or a “six-pack” when the real point of working your mid-section is to enhance movement of the rest of your body while preventing injury. Once you adjust your expectations from an aesthetic goal to a functional fitness goal, you’ll start to recognize how much more your body can accomplish when your core muscles are strong.
Some of the frustration comes from misinformation. Much to the chagrin of the industry, the terms ABS and CORE are not interchangeable. Abs refer to only the abdominal muscles, while the core muscles are actually a complex series of muscles, going well beyond the musculature that people typically train.
The first step is to identify the muscles of the core. The major muscles of the core include the pelvic floor muscles, transverses abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, and diaphragm, and the minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius.
When it Comes to Your Core, It’s All About that Base
Having a strong core is all about stability. The goal is to prevent unwanted motion, and that comes from having a solid base.
Core strength is not only helpful with sports or exercise, but it is essential for everyday health and well-being. A strong base of core muscles protects the spine, can reduce back pain, improves movement patterns, and enhances posture, balance, and stability.
Your overall fitness plan should ideally include exercises that can strengthen your entire range of abdominal muscles. In order to design a safe and effective workout regimen, you should focus on executing proper alignment on the individual exercises.
Doing the exercises properly may take some time, so allow yourself to operate on a progression from a modified version to the full range adjusted to your body and fitness level.
Because having a strong core is so vital to functional fitness, we pulled together a bundle of products that will help you put together workout routines for days so you’ll never get bored or wonder what to do again.
(1) Smart Straps Body Weight Training System
(1) Prism Smart Core Ab Wheel with Mat
(1) Smart Medicine Ball, 8lb (Green)
All of these products are from our self-guided collection, which means they come with exercises printed directly on the equipment.
Here are a few exercises to start working your core!
Weighted Reverse Crunch with SMART Medicine Ball
Lie on your back with your hands at your side with your feet lifted off the floor, knees bent. Hold the SMART medicine ball between your feet by squeezing your ankles into the ball. Next, raise your hips toward your rib cage while lifting your tailbone off the floor. Hold, lower down, then repeat. Try 10-20 repetitions. Tip: Try to use your hands only as a stabilizer vs. a lever so you can rely on them less.
Side Planks with SMART STRAPS Bodyweight Training System
Adjust the SMART STRAPS so the hand at mid-calf length. Insert both feet into the preformed cuffs. Ease into a suspended plank position with your shoulders in line with your hands and proper spine alignment. Roll onto your right side so that your right elbow is directly under your right shoulder. To improve balance success, place your top leg in front of your bottom leg. Next, raise your top arm toward the ceiling so that it runs in line with your bottom arm. Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch sides. This exercise is especially great for engaging your obliques.
Here are three CORE WHEEL Workouts to get you started!
- SMART Core Wheel knee Rollouts with Opposite Knee Plank Mountain Climbers
- Plank Hold on SMART Core Wheel with Feisty Floor Sprints
- Round the World Pike Ups with the SMART Core Wheel