A Practical Guide to Strengthening your Core

If your core is not strong you will suffer the consequences. Your core is the foundation for your strength. Without a strong core, imbalances in the body occur which in turn cause injury and issues later in life.

Foundation, in every aspect of life, is vitally important. The trunk of a tree needs to be strong or the wind can blow it over and the weight of heavy limbs can snap branches off.

Builders know the importance when it comes to building a house, that if the foundation is not solid, the house can eventually crumble.

Teachers understand the need in education, that if you cannot add using foundational principles, you’ll never be able to do more complicated math.

Business owners grasp this concept when it comes to building their business. If the core of the organization is weak, the business will eventually fail.

Even marriages with a strong foundation withstand the test of time better than those created when two people “fall in love”.

There is a Latin Proverb that states

“A weak foundation destroys the work.”

Your body is connected from your toes to your head by a kinetic chain. A pain in your foot can cause your hips to move differently. An injury in your shoulder can cause you to lean one way, causing pain in your hips and knees. But! With a strong core, your body is able to function closer to normal without compensating in other areas linked by the kinetic chain.

According to Pete McCall, an expert in the fitness industry:

Effective core training requires using exercises that integrate the hips, trunk and shoulders to efficiently distribute the forces (gravity, ground reaction and momentum) caused by upright movement.”

Core training does start on the floor, but not in the way most people believe! It is important to first establish core stability through core activation. There are a number of ways to achieve this, but the most basic movement is often the most overlooked.

Starting on all fours (hands and knees), practice pulling the belly button in toward the spine and up towards the heart while keeping the natural curve of your spine. Then, turn over and lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, practice the same movement of drawing your belly button in towards the spine and up towards your heart.

When you’re able to activate the core in this manner add these exercises to establish stability:

With core activation and stability solidly achieved, other strengthening exercises should then be introduced. There are a number of exercises that can be done to develop this. Keep in mind that all exercises should be done with a focus first on the core.

With a strong core, you can be a faster runner, a heavier lifter, a more-nimble wrestler, a better golfer, you name it. It is the foundation for all your strength. It will also give you the ability to do more with your children and grandchildren, give you better balance for all activities in life and overall make you feel better about yourself and your abilities.

Now, if you’re looking for the “six-pack abs” look…go ahead and do the traditional crunches, knees to elbow and ab exercises that give you that sore core feel. There is nothing inherently wrong with those exercises or with having that aesthetic look. But the look on the outside is nothing without the true strength on the inside.

Build that firm foundation first. If you’ve been exercising for years but don’t have a stable and strong core, then it’s not too late to begin working on it. Just pause, determine the integrity of your core and if it needs work then start from the basics again.

Of course, if you ever need assistance, we at HomeFit are happy to help!

And I’ll leave you with this last thought from Matthew 7:24-27 New International Version (NIV)

The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”