With techniques of exercising continuously evolving, we all look for better ways to workout that can also achieve results faster. This particular regime looks at core training and its importance.
Core strengthening has started gaining importance in recent years. Imagine that the core muscles in your body are the strong central link in a chain connecting the upper and lower body.
Whether playing basketball, tennis or swimming, the necessary motions involved actively engages your core. A strong core is a stable core; where you will be able to do various physical tasks with ease. The exercises in this programme focus on muscle groups that activate your core.
A simple yet effective exercise, the ballet twist works on muscle groups such as the obliques and abs.
o Sit on the floor, extend your legs, pressing them together.
o Lean back 45 degrees from the hips.
o Keep abs engaged as you bring both your arms overhead.
o Slowly twist your torso to the right, placing your right arm on the mat. Keep your left arm reaching overhead for a count of three.
o Repeat movement, keeping your left arm, and your butt and heels on the floor.
o Contract your abs to support your spine as you return to the centre, bringing both arms overhead. Continue alternating sides. Do six to eight repetitions of two sets on each side.
A Push-Up is a complete body movement that is great for increasing strength and has the added benefit of engaging the core and lower body.
o Get into a high plank position by placing your hands firmly on the ground, directly under your shoulders.
o Ensure that your toes are ground into the floor to stablise the lower half and flatten your back so your entire body is neutral and straight.
o Lower your body to the ground, keeping your back flat and eyes focused about three feet in front of you (to keep a neutral neck) until your chest grazes the floor.
o Keeping your core engaged, exhale as you push back to starting position and repeat. Do 10 to 15 repetitions of two sets each.
In and Out Crunch
This is a great core exercise that works your upper and lower abdominals as well as your hip flexors. It will also improve balance and coordination.
o Lie on your back with your feet together, legs extended and the hands behind the head, with elbows wide.
o Lift those shoulder blades and feet off the floor, bending the knees in toward the chest, and lifting the upper body in a standard crunch.
o Do 12 to 15 repetitions of two sets each.
Squat Thrust and Twist
The squat thrust is an exercise that targets several muscles in the legs. Specifically, the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and quadriceps. Exercises such as the squat thrust that target the leg muscles are important for building muscular endurance in the lower limbs. With the additions of a twist, your body actively works on the abdomen. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, extend your arms at shoulder height.
o Begin by squatting, bending the knees at 90 degrees, and twist your upper body to the left.
o Now, come up and repeat to the right.
o Keep your weight on your heels, and don’t allow the knees to jut forward away from your toes.
o Keep your knees facing forward, as your chest and shoulders move side to side, bend knees as close to 90 degrees as possible. Do 12 to 15 repetitions of two sets each.
The Cobra is an extension exercise which is very popular, as it opens the front-body, expands the chest and stretches the abdominals, hip flexors and quadriceps.
o Lie on a mat, face down with the hands in front of the shoulders, palm flat on the ground, legs together and extended behind you.
o Press your palms to lift your belly off the floor. Tightening your core, lengthen the upper body away from the mat, reaching out and raising the head upwards.
o Draw the shoulder blades together, opening the chest.
o Hold for 30-45 seconds and go down to starting position. Do five to seven repetitions.