Love it or hate it— you can’t hide from the hype around core strength, and images of influencers with carved abs like Greek gods are just the tip of the iceberg. But before we jump straight into crunches, let’s dive deeper into the benefits of a strong core.
What is Your Core?
Believe it or not, your abs and core are not the same thing. Your core is actually made up of several muscle groups within your torso that keep your posture upright and tight. They include:
- Rectus abdominis (the six-pack)
- Traverse abdominis (lower abs)
- Internal and external obliques
- Multifidus (the deep muscles in your back)
- Erector spinae (the muscles along your spine)
- Pelvic floor muscles
Your minor core muscles even include your lats, traps, and glutes. Surprised? Wait till you find out what a strong core can do…
1. Run Faster. Lift Heavier.
In some way, shape, or form—your core is responsible for nearly every type of movement in your body. From bending to snapping, twisting, flexing, reaching, jumping, stepping, and standing—your core is at, well, the core of athletic performance.
For runners, core strength allows your pelvis, hips, and lower back to move more fluidly. As a result, you’ll expend less energy and reduce your risk of injury caused by poor posture. Similarly, weightlifters with a stronger core can lift more with a neutral spine, and therefore will be able to hit those PRs faster.
2. Gain Confidence.
The benefits of good posture are seemingly limitless. From reducing your risk of spinal injury to opening your airways to allow for better breathing—these all stem from a strong core.
This study even suggests good posture increases confidence. But, of course, you probably don’t need a study to tell you that—just stand in front of the mirror with your shoulders back and you’ll feel the difference!
If you’re looking for tips to improve your posture, you can start here.
3. Protect Your Inner Organs.
Think about all the vital organs located inside your torso. Even your brain’s communication path to the rest of your body, the spinal cord, relies on core muscles like the erector spinae to keep it safe. A strong core helps your organs stay in place as you conquer your daily tasks.
So, How Do I Get a Strong Core?
Fortunately, you don’t need a ton of equipment to strengthen your core. You could do many exercises with just your bodyweight and a yoga mat, but if you’re seeking a challenge, try using the Sweet Sweat ab wheel for full core engagement. Or, if you’re looking for something more versatile, try core sliders.
Any exercise performed with core sliders intensifies the stress on your core by creating instability. You’ll experience a simultaneous push-pull force that will leave you sore in muscles you didn’t know you had—and that’s how you know it’s working.
Ready to start? Follow along to one of my favorite core slider routines featuring Jenna Willis here and get ready to feel the burn!
This article was written by Melissa Pelowski.