Today I’m introducing a new weekly series, Training Tip Tuesday. Each week I will focus on a different aspect of training – strength, cardio, flexibility, balance, etc.
Today’s Training Tip
Engage your core!
What Makes Up the Core
Your core is basically your trunk, or the area between the top of the rib cage and the inguinal fold, and expands from the belly to the back. It’s made up of a lot more muscles than the well known rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae. As important as those large muscle groups are, much smaller and less commonly known muscles such as the multifidus are equally important in supporting the spine.
What is the Core’s Main Function
The main functions of the core are to protect and assist the spine while stabilizing the upper and lower body. A strong core is a key component of injury prevention not only during athletics, but during daily life.
How to Engage the Core
It’s easy to slouch when standing or sitting, and simply focusing on good posture is the first step toward engaging the core. While in that good posture position, isometrically contract (contract without moving) your core muscles. Think of it as giving your spine a hug.
While training clients, I am constantly reminding them to engage their core. Some of the key phrases I use are…
- • Stand or sit tall
- • Pull your belly button to your spine
- • Hug your spine with your muscles
- • Don’t forget to breath
Speak Peek to Next Week
Once it becomes second nature to engage the core, there are simple changes that can be made to bring the core into most any strength training exercise. Next Tuesday I will expand on strengthening the core through engagement when it might otherwise be ignored.
- • Do you engage your core naturally or do you need to remind yourself?
- • Do you do core specific exercise or work the core while doing other exercises? ~ Next week I’ll focus on how to change up simple exercise to bring the core into play.
- • What other training tips would you like for me to cover?