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jennifer Alex | jenniferalex65

Strong to the core

Feb 17th 2014 at 8:36 PM

When most people think about their core muscles, they picture the superficial larger muscles they can see, or their "six-pack." But having a strong core is much more than having great-looking abs. The core muscles lie below the superficial abdominal muscles, deep within the torso. They attach to the spine, pelvis and shoulder blades. They are often forgotten because we can't see them, but these muscles create a solid foundation of support for the body.

Ordinary abdominal exercises such as crunches and leg lifts focus on the superficial abdominal muscles and do not teach the body to coordinate different muscle groups during activity. Core exercises enable many muscles to work together, building functional strength. This type of strength is used during daily activity, whether you are digging a hole or just lifting the laundry basket.

Core strength is also essential for maximum results during sports. A strong core not only creates a strong centre around which the extremities can move, but also optimizes the transfer of energy to your arm and leg muscles. Athletes know that this type of inner strength is the key ingredient to running faster, hitting a golf ball harder or throwing a baseball farther.

Discover your real core muscles
One of the most important core muscles is the transversus abdominis muscle, which lies deep in the abdomen, approximately two inches below your navel. This muscle is also known as the "corset muscle," because when it is toned it provides stability for the lower spine and pelvis. Not only does training this muscle properly decrease the likelihood of a lower back injury, it is also the key to creating a narrowed waist, and a more toned lower abdomen. How's that for motivation?

Other important core muscles enable you to slide your shoulder blades down your back, toward your waist. This motion moves your shoulders away from your ears, improving posture in the upper back and neck area. Exercises to improve the strength of these muscles are especially important for people who carry stress in their neck and upper back or are starting to develop rounded shoulders.

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