Over time, age can take quite a toll on strength and mobility. Without proper upkeep and maintenance, your body will grow weaker and more immobile, as will the risk of falls, fractures, breaks, and other injuries. Think of your core muscles as a tree trunk, where your lower body is the roots and your upper body is the branches – in a hurricane. In the face of strong winds, your core muscles or “tree trunk” will help keep you stable and upright. Unfortunately, far too many people forget and neglect the importance of core strength which can result in unnecessary pain – but don’t worry! Today, we’re going to outline the best exercises for building core muscle that is actually crunch-free. Can you believe it?
Building Core Muscle: The Amazing Benefits of Core Strength for Everyday Life
When it comes to exercise, many people’s brains automatically think of leaner arms, stronger legs, a bigger butt… To your surprise, health and fitness experts everywhere are raving about the importance of building core muscle. While core strengthening helps enhance overall balance and stability, it literally undergirds almost every one of your movements.
Have you ever considered just how much you engage your core muscles in a single day? Let’s brainstorm some of the mundane ways you unknowingly need core strength:
- Bending down to put your shoes on
- Scooping up child or grandchild
- Looking behind you or checking blind spots
- Taking a bath or a shower
- Getting dressed or undressed
- Cleaning or fixing the house and gardening
- Occupational tasks that involve twisting, lifting, and even sitting for hours every day
Many people “don’t have a strong grasp of which muscles are the ‘core’ muscles,” says Dr. Wendi Weimar, Auburn University’s director of the Sports Biomechanics Laboratory. “So, people will do exercises that they think are working the ‘core’ but are not.” This is because countless people understand abs and core as the same thing.
The Difference Between Abs and Core Strength
Anyone seeking those chiseled abs will quickly learn that they’re doing themselves a disservice. Whereas strengthening your abs in isolation only targets a few front-facing muscles, core exercises target the entire group of muscles that provide you with the “trunk” necessary for pretty much every motion that we do. Without getting into the Latin anatomical terms, core muscles generally include:
- Ab muscles on the front
- Lower back muscles and glutes on the back
- Diaphragm muscle on the top
- Pelvic floor and hip muscles on the bottom
“If you’re going to prioritize different areas of the body,” said personal trainer and owner of Strength & Performance Training, Inc., “the core would be number one because everything else branches off from that.”
If abs are what you want, you can get them! But today, we’re going to focus on the best core exercises to make you stronger, improve balance, and eliminate back pain.
The 6 Best Core Exercises to Do at Home
Now that you’re more aware of the immense importance of core strengthening, here are 6 of the best core exercises. They take no more than ten minutes, require no equipment, and can drastically improve your overall health, strength, mobility, balance, and pain. Each 1-minute video follows the same certified fitness trainer who will walk you through each simple core strengthening exercise.
The bridge exercise strengthens the whole abdominal region, the lower back and the glutes.
2. Straight Leg Drops
The straight leg drop core exercise targets the transverse abdominal muscles and the obliques
3. Front Toe Drops
The front toe drop core abdominal exercise requires focus on breath.
4. Side Knee Drops
Exercise abdominal muscles with a focus on the obliques with the side knee drop core exercise.
5. Hip Circles
The hip circle core exercise requires focus on breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
6. Four-Point Balance
The four-point balance exercise strengthens abdominal muscles and improves balance.