Simple Ways to Increase Your Core Strength

core-strengthAssuming you’ve read A Core Quiz, you’re ready to start increasing your core strength! In this post you’ll learn how to use your balance ball, achieve proper form, engage the appropriate muscles daily, and figure out what “engaging the core” even means!

Core 101

Your core region makes up the muscles of your back, abdominals, glutes and pelvic region. you can see, a strong core is not only critical to every fat-blasting, body-shaping program—it critically influences the way you lift objects, support your neck and shoulders, and move your legs. As critical for life.

The good news is that building strong muscles is blissfully simple.

Forget seeing a chiropractor. You may not even need to add posture-supporting pillows and padding to your office and car. For most people, the path to a strong, tension-free core is right at your fingertips.

No-Frills Core Workout

Just about any exercise you do can strengthen your core if you “engage” the right muscles. That includes walking, riding your bike, even gardening and cleaning the house. As you get stronger, you’ll start engaging the right muscles out of habit—even while driving and sitting at work—for an effortless workout.

While this is a good start, your routine should contain targeted work, as well. Roll out your exercise mat at home and target your core with crunches, push-ups, planks, bicycle maneuver and scissor kicks.

To watch a Beginners Workout, click here.

 

Stability Balance Ball

The balance ball is a “core” part of your workout. A 65cm burst-resistant ball lets you double your workout power by performing ab-engaging movements on the ball, such as hip lifts, dumbbell presses, anterior roll outs and crunches. These and more can be found in the complete IdealShape Fitness Plan, available in eBook format today.

 

When we said strengthening your core could be easy, we weren’t joking: you can literally get an effective workout just by sitting on the balance ball. That’s because it requires core engagement to balance. Snag a little extra “core” time by sitting on the ball at your desk or while watching TV.

 

Am I Getting A Good Workout?

When you perform any type of exercise, you should be tapping into your core power. That’s how you’ll become stronger and prevent back, neck and shoulder discomfort. So it’s essential to become familiar with an “engaged” core and correct posture, especially on the balance ball.

Correct posture: Your torso should be upright and tailbone tucked slightly under. The back should not be arched back or hunched forward. If you experience pain, readjust your form.

Engaging your core: Once you become stronger, you’ll easily be able to feel your muscles working. It starts with contracting the inner muscles of your core, primarily in your abdominal region. You’ll stand up straight, tuck your tailbone under, lift your chest, and bring your waist in. It should feel almost like taking a deep breath and holding, but you aren’t holding your breath—you’re holding your abs strong.

Sitting on the ball: Sit slightly toward the front of the ball rather than right on top, so that your thighs slope downwards at a 90 degree angle. Start small (30 minutes at a time) and build your way up (to 1-2 hours, even up to 8, daily).

Double your exercise results and feel better every day, simply by strengthening your core. If you already have a balance ball, you should definitely make it part of your daily routine.

Don’t forget to “roll out” with a foam roller after every exercise session!

Tell us: what’s your favorite way to increase your core strength?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Sad news: no matter which way you bend, sit-ups and crunches won’t make a dent in your spare tire. People are often surprised to hear this, because it seems efficient to zero in on the area you want to tone. But compared with total body exercises that engage your entire core, crunches and sit-ups do little to define your midsection. And they do nothing to whittle away the fat, which is key to seeing that hard-won definition. There are tons of workouts that burn more fat much more efficiently. […]

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