When you see the word core, you think of abdomen, but the core is more than the abdomen. The core is the middle part of our body, it’s about the abdomen and lumbar muscles.
All of us, women and men want a well-defined abdomen and imagine how great you will look on the beach. But to get that you have to do the best core strength exercises.
A beautiful, toned and well-defined abdomen is eye-catching but think from the health point of view.
Developing and strengthening the core muscles had the role, and you will be happy to hear that this will keep away the pains and injuries in this zone.
Let’s see first which are the muscles of the trunk.
Muscles Of The Trunk
I will detail the muscle groups, and it’s not an anatomy class. The scope is to make you understand and to be aware of the muscles and how to train one and each.
The front side muscles. There 4 major muscles:
– Rectus abdominis – is a long muscle that extends along the abdomen in the middle section of the torso, helping to bend it. This is the muscle responsible with the ‘six-pack’ aspect.
– External abdominal oblique – is located on the side and in front of the abdomen, around the waist, helping to twist the trunk.
– Internal abdominal oblique – the muscles that are located under the external oblique in the opposite direction, also helping the twisting movement
– Traverse abdominis – the muscles located the deepest around the abdomen, under the obliques acting as a corset, protecting the organs and stabilizing the spine
There is a fifth muscle – the psoasiliac muscle – two muscle groups, originating from the inside of the pelvis and from the joint between the vertebrae and together, act on the femur, playing an important role in bending the hip.
The backside muscles.
– Muscular rhomboids – are located in the lower part of the cervical region and in the upper part of the dorsal region, their role being to approach the shoulder blade.
– The big dorsal muscle – the most important back muscles – its roles are the adduction movement, the lowering of the shoulders, the fluttering of the arms and their pulling over the face and over the head.
– Spinal helical muscles – is a group of three muscles that extend along the spine and the chest, from the bottom of the back to the neck, acting when the back is in the extension.
– Multifidus muscle – small muscles, located along the spine, with short fibers, connecting one vertebra to another.
– Lumbar square – muscle strings that connect the rib and vertebra edge to the lower back, helping the lateral trunk movement.
How To Train The Core Muscles
The best way to train our trunk muscles is to involve them in almost all the movements we make and to perform functional exercises that work as many muscles as possible.
Besides these functional exercises, we have to do isometric exercises like “Plank” through which we train our stabilizing muscles.
These isometric exercises are essential, they increase muscle strength.
Also, it’s easy to do (you just have to hold a position a specific time unit), you can run them anywhere, not only in the gym, and you can do them anytime.
Plank – The Must For Core Exercises
If you have not ever tried before, plank may seem too simplistic, almost too easy to be beneficial, but do not let that deceive you.
Although the position is not the most complicated, you will see that maintaining it and exercising variations can be a challenge, involving strength and resistance in the muscles of the abdomen, the back, and the entire core area.
Plank work well buttocks and hamstrings, supporting your correct posture and improving the balance.
Here is a quick 5 minutes plank workout for abs, chest, but, back and core:
1-minute full plank
30 seconds elbow plank
raised leg plank 30 seconds for each leg
side plank 30 seconds each side
full plank 30 seconds and finish with
1-minute elbow plank
I will describe some exercises which use your body weight. All you need is a mat, good mood and some free time.
The exercises are based on the Pilates technique and will target the core and Yoga for stretching.
As you may know, both Pilates and Yoga get the accent on breathing.
Warm up exercises – the following sequence will warm up all muscles.
1. Start with cat cow pose with 2 repetitions. Don’t forget to inhale on the cat and exhale on the cow.
2. Finish the cat with a child pose
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 once more
4. Exhale and stand on your knees and raise up your arms
5. Inhale and go in the child pose
6. Repeat 4 and 5 once more
7. Inhale and take a cat pose; exhale and take a cow pose
8. Inhale and go to child pose
9. Exhale and do a full cobra pose
10. Inhale and go to child pose
11. Repeat step 9 once more
12. Exhale and do a downward facing dog pose
13. Exhale and do a cat pose
14. Exhale and do a cow pose
You are done with the warm-up. Now you are ready to work your core.
There a sequence of exercises and again, do not forget about the breathing.
The swan – is an exercise for intercostal, paravertebral and even a little triceps.
Rollup – for the elasticity of the spinal cord, the trapezium and neck muscles; the abdomen is also a key point because exercise is slow.
The one hundred – work muscles of the abdomen, quadriceps, shoulders, and forearm.
Double leg stretch prep – Especially focused on the abdomen and quadriceps.
Sidekick – stretching for femoral biceps and working on the abdomen.
Inner thigh raise – very useful for ligament pain in the inguinal area.
The saw – more dynamic stretching, working spine and dorsal muscles.
Standing chest expansion – intercostals, little shoulders, and deep breathing.
Suggested Training Plan
Always start with warming up and finish with stretching. Never forget that.
Do 2 sets of warming exercises, followed by core exercises and finish with 2 sets of warming exercises.
You can also include the 5 minutes plank sequence, it’s up to you. Do variations.
I find it very easy as I use only my body weight.
Another suggested plan – 15 reps on each side, 3-4 sets:
– side plank
– abdomen exercises with a twist, you need a mat for this
– classic abs
The core is not only abdomen, but it’s also the lumbar area.
I detailed the trunk muscles, and now you know about the front and the back muscles of the abdominal zone.
The plank is the best exercise to do to strengthen your core. You have a 5 minutes plan for plank, core exercises sequence and some suggestions incorporated in a plan.
And all you need is a mat and you, that’s it.
Are you ready to work the core zone?
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