Core Training: The Basics

By now, all of you guys must already know what the core is.

If not, scroll back a few articles to find out.

Core training is all about muscle activation. It’s one thing to activate your core while sitting on a chair and it’s another thing to keep it activated when pressing a pair of dumbbells over your head.

Yup. Multi-tasking. Multi-tasking with muscles.

Telling your brain to keep your core braced the whole time you’re doing a squat or a push-up. It’a no walk in the park. Try it.

For women who are reading this, do a push-up (kneeling) with the following things in check:

  1. Core activated.
  2. Inhale going down the mat/floor.
  3. Exhale going up (pushing off the mat/floor) while contracting your chest muscles.
For guys, do a push-up with the following things in check:
  1. One straight line — from the heel, hips and shoulders on starting position.
  2. Core activated.
  3. Inhale going down the mat/floor.
  4. Exhale going up (pushing off the mat/floor) while contracting your chest muscles and triceps.

Now try to go for at least 5 repetitions while keeping everything in check.

How did you fare?

If you did well, then congratulations.

For those who struggled, then it’s about time for you to get to know your body more. That is… before moving to more advanced stuff like core training.

But, it doesn’t mean that what you are doing currently is NOT core training.

If your current training program involves doing exercises like squats, planks and deadlifts,  then you’re already doing core training. It probably just wasn’t explained to you clearly. I mean, how else can you maintain your working position without everything in sync?

These basic movements fall under the category of CORE EXERCISES, meaning exercises that recruit one or more large muscle areas (i.e. chest, shoulder, back, hip or thigh) involve two or more primary joints (multi-joint exercise) and receive priority when one is starting out because they are more functional (i.e. mimics real life movements).

Another great thing about these exercises is the fact that they work to integrate the body into a functional whole and core training should be no different.

Mastery of basic core exercises can help develop intermuscular coordination and muscular activation. Once this has been achieved, more advanced core training can be taken up. This can involve the same core exercises but on a more challenging surface like a stability ball or a bosu ball.

Has anyone of you ever done a push-up on a stability ball/swiss ball? Sounds cool right? But before you try it, re-acquaint yourself with your body first. It’s gonna require a lot of balance, coordination, strength, technique and breathing. On top  of that, you need every ounce of muscle to participate.

Complicated? Multi-tasking is never easy.

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