Core stability or core stability is the set of exercises aimed at improving proprioception and the tone of the structures that make up the core. Instead, the term core refers to the center or core of the body and includes the set of deep muscles, responsible for posture, located between the ribs and the pelvis, around the spine (abs, pelvic and back muscles). . They are the energy center of the body and help it to be more stable.
Core training is a very popular training method in the United States that aims to strengthen the center of the body. Toning this muscular corset is more effective than doing abdominal exercises such as crunches because the core plays a very important role in maintaining correct posture and preventing injuries in sports such as running but also many other sports.
Having a toned core can improve the sportsman’s performance. Additionally, core stability exercises are often used in back pain therapy.
Core training has a positive impact on health, on daily gestures, such as carrying weights, but it also helps to have a flat stomach.
Practiced consistently, core training strengthens and stabilizes the back and tones the abdominal belt.
Core stability: what it is
The core does not have a very precise definition but we can define it as the anatomical and body space between the lower line of the rib cage and the lower part of the pelvis.
So we have the diaphragm at the top and the pelvic floor at the bottom. Instead, anteriorly and laterally, we have the abdominal fascia (mainly the rectus abdominis and the transversus). While posteriorly, the quadratus lumborum and the deep muscles of the vertebral column.
Thus, core training strengthens the deep muscles of the abs:
But also the muscles of the spine:
- Paravertebral muscles.
Core training is performed both in isometric contraction. It means that the muscles work without changing length as for example in the plank, or if you are trained, you can perform dynamic exercises, such as the mountain climber.
Who invented core stability?
The invention is attributed to Joseph Pilates. In fact, in pilates we work a lot on core training to strengthen the muscular corset.
But to improve core muscle strength, the method is not to maintain a position for a long time but to do numerous repetitions of an exercise such as the plank.
Core stability: how to train
Static exercises and dynamic exercises
It is important to do core training exercises in a complete way to maintain the balance of the muscle chains and develop the body in a harmonious way not only for aesthetics but also for balanced muscle development.
Furthermore, it is important that the working time and/or the number of repetitions is the same on both sides.
You can work with static exercises (for beginners) or with dynamic exercises, if you’re trained.
How long to train
If you suffer from back pain and/or are poorly trained, the advice is to perform several short series and not maintain the contraction for long.
In core training, the advice is to do the exercises for 10 to 30 seconds and to do 3 to 5 sets. The ideal would be to alternate the exercises focusing on the back, lateral and abdominal corset work.
Each static exercise must be maintained for a time ranging from 10 to 30 seconds maximum. Instead, for dynamic exercises, the advice is to perform between 6 and 10 repetitions for each exercise.
How often to perform core stability exercises
You don’t need to do them every day.
The advice is to perform them at least 3 times a week. To get results, the only good advice is to be consistent and focus on proper breathing and movement.
The importance of breathing
During the exercises it is very important to breathe correctly.
Inhale through your nose (closing your mouth) and exhale through your mouth. With each inhalation, feel your rib cage expand and your ribs lift, and be careful never to lift your shoulders or chest.
As you exhale, close your rib cage by bringing your navel as close to your spine as possible (belly in). Try to always keep the same breathing rhythm during the execution.
Core stability: mistakes to avoid during training
Here are the mistakes that are often encountered during core training training:
- relaxation in the abdomen which causes an arching of the back and tension in the lumbar region.
- Do not work on the 3 dimensions but only perform core stability exercises for the abs.
- Holding the positions for too long can lead to muscle imbalances. As already mentioned, the ideal workout is between 10 and 30 seconds maximum.
- Once trained, perform only static exercises. To improve, you need to perform dynamic core training exercises, or at least alternate exercises.
Core stability: take the plank test to understand your training level
Before starting a core stability program it is important to test your training level and understand if your abdominal corset is toned.
Grab a stopwatch and get into the plank position. Hold the position as long as you can and check the time on the table to assess your level.
- Denied: – by 20 seconds.
- Weak abdominal belt: 20 to 30 seconds.
- Medium: from 31 seconds to 1’09″ (one minute and 9 seconds).
- Good: 1’10″ to 1’30″.
- Excellent: + than 1’30″.
Discover all the training tests to do before starting a workout.
Core stability cult exercise: the plank
The plank exercise is the perfect exercise to tone your core. In fact, it works all the muscles in the corset, as well as the arms and shoulders.
To perform this position correctly, get on your knees with your elbows on the ground, bring your legs straight back placing your feet on your big toes and lift your pelvis keeping your back straight and parallel to the floor.
It is important to keep the belly in and contract all the muscles of the body. The advice is to initially maintain the position between 10 and 30 seconds and do 6 series and then gradually increase the time until you hold the position for 1 minute.
ATTENTION: the body must remain straight, pelvis in retroversion, buttocks and abs contracted.
Concentrate on your breathing. If the exercise is too difficult, lower your knees to the ground.
Discover all the variations of the plank.
The variant of the abdominal vacuum to tone your core
The abdominal vaccum is a perfect exercise to complement the work done with core training. The technique is quite complex to understand but once the exercise is memorized it can be done anywhere, in the office, at home or in the gym.
This exercise can also help reduce diastasis recti and stimulates the perineum, improves body stability and the strength of your abdominal girdle.
Find out how to perform the abdominal vacuum.
Benefits of core stability
Core training has proven its effectiveness in improving sports performance thanks to functional movements.
For example, in rowing the cyclical movement of the rowing machine strongly engages the core (abs and lower back). The athlete brings the center of the body of the anterior and posterior chain into play.
So practicing core training can help develop greater strength. The goal is not to aim for muscle strengthening but to train intelligently to improve your performance.
the center of the body, i.e. the belly, is stimulated in all exercises thanks to the work of the deep abdominals, in particular of the transverse muscle.
More elastic spine
With age, the intervertebral discs wear out, losing their ability to cushion the traumas suffered, and the spine becomes stiffer. Core training exercises improve the mobility and elasticity of the spine.
Core training helps the body realign itself and improves posture, giving you a leaner posture and a more agile physique.
Prevent and treat back pain
Core training can also be used for therapeutic purposes because the numerous core stability exercises help combat chronic back pain and lumbar, neck or joint pain.
If you practice a sport like running, the goal is muscle strengthening work.
Integrating core exercises 3 times a week helps to improve your performance but also to prevent injuries because reinforcing the work of the abdominal corset improves posture and, for example, reduces the risk of pubalgia in sports such as running or even football .
Tones the pelvic floor
It also tones the pelvic floor after pregnancy.
Coaches recommend toning the pelvic floor after childbirth to avoid possible organ prolapse.
First, after giving birth, the advice is to be followed by a physiotherapist or midwife to train the perineum. Subsequently, core exercises can be introduced to tone the abdominal corset.
In summary, here are some of the many benefits of core training.
- Flat stomach.
- Strengthens the deep muscles that protect the intervertebral muscles and therefore also the column.
- Prevents back pains.
- Tones the abdominal belt.
- Improve an athlete’s performance.
- Improve your posture.
Core stability: example of a training program
This is a core training proposal for beginners with 3 basic exercises: plank, lateral plank and reverse plank. These 3 exercises performed one after the other help you tone the entire abdominal corset.
In the end…