We all know the benefits and often think “I must start working on my core” I personally have seen huge improvements in power output and climbing in the athletes I have put into core specific work.
The core is one of the most important areas of the body and training it is often overlooked. It’s all very well knowing the core must be trained but do you really know why or how?
Without a strong core, technique is compromised and the risk for injury is greatly increased. A weak core commonly relates to back and postural issues.
The core consists of inner abdominals such as the Transverse Abdominis (TVAs) and Internal Obliquus as well as the outer abdominals such as Rectus Abdominis and External Obliquus.
The biggest effort should be placed on strengthening your TVAs which play a key part in stabilisation. To activate them when exercising naturally draw in your belly button. Weak TVAs lead to a dysfunctional abdominal wall (paunch belly) and also cause issues in the lower back due to it compensating.
Believe it or not everyone has Rectus Abdominis (washboard abs) however some have a little more coverage than others! The Rectus Abdominis protects vital organs and the spinal cord. They may look good but they are not as functional as you may think.
As swim, bike, run enthusiasts think of the hours spent swimming where the core is used as a platform for the limbs to generate power, the hours spent on the bike leaning forward or down on aero bars where again the core acts not only as a platform for the hips and legs but as a brace for the back, and finally, running where core stability ensures efficient limb movement, coordination and posture.
It is recommended that core exercises be conducted towards the end of a session, leaving a fresh core to support demand during.
There is a little more to training the core than just doing sit ups. For ease of exercise selection it’s a good idea to break down the areas into:
Lower abdominals (TVAs) – Bridging, Obliquus – Functional twisting, Upper Abdominals (Rectus Abdominis) – Sit ups and Lower back – Back extensions. These are just some examples of a variety of exercises that will ensure your core is strengthened from inside to out.
Stop getting ROUNDTOIT and DO IT.