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The Core of the Matter-Part I

by Lauren Walker All Fit/All Ages Gym

“What is the best exercise for my core?” I get asked this question pretty frequently. There is no simple answer, and knowing how to strengthen the core means understanding what it is first.

Let’s start with the basics; when I refer to “core,” imagine a corset wrapping around your midsection. Most people are under the impression it refers to your “six pack” area, but that isn’t correct. The core includes your abdominal wall and the opposing muscles of the back. This corset is responsible for stability through movement. Working your core means working these muscles in order to create stability for your arms and legs.

Your core is responsible for pushing, pulling, bending and lifting. Squatting is noted to help develop your core. Why? Your “corset” has to tighten in order to generate lift force to move a load safely. It is responsible for moving you in a multitude of directions, so it makes sense to train that way.

The biggest mistake people make is doing too much abdominal work and not enough back work. This creates an imbalance and often leads to postural problems.

These back muscles are known as back extensors and are endurance muscles because they help keep you upright. Here is a typical example: I’ve had clients tell me they do 100 sit-ups a day. They also tell me how much their back hurts. Why? Sit-ups are noted to cause a lot of compression on the spine. If you have a herniated disc, this will certainly make it worse! This has to be counterbalanced with back extension work.

The core is your driving muscular force. The stronger it is, the more functional you shall be.

All Fit All Ages Gym is located in the

Food Basics plaza, beside Coldwell Banker.

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