For this issue, the topic and additional workout will be about the core. It may be helpful to think of your core muscles as the central link in a chain connecting the upper and lower portions of the body. It is the “powerhouse” of all movement. No matter where motion starts, it ripples upward and downward to adjoining links of the chain. Therefore, weak or inflexible core muscles can impair the functionality of the body’s extremities, thus limiting the body’s ability to transfer force during movement.
Properly building up the stabilizers and movers of the core cranks up the power transfer and improves the stability and movement of the core; all the while, decreasing the risks of injuries during sports or other activities. A stable and strong core is the key to moving efficiently. Normal everyday activities such as bending down to tie shoes or picking up a package, sitting or standing for a period of time or even turning to look behind you require a stable and strong core to perform. Furthermore, a strong core is necessary for heavy resistance training movements like back squats, deadlifts or bench presses.
Since the core is referred to as the powerhouse of all movement, it is important to train all sides of the “house.” When building a house, you lay the foundation first. For the core, this is the musculature of the pelvic floor and hip girdle. The walls of the core are comprised of the anterior musculature (abdominals), posterior musculature (paraspinals) and the lateral musculature (obliques). The last part of the powerhouse is the roof, which is comprised of the diaphragm.
Below is an example of a “powerhouse” workout which covers the stabilizers and movers of the core. For this workout start holds for 10-15 seconds each and increase time as it becomes easier to hold. Repeat holds for 2 or 3 times if you can.
Also below is a second core workout that will maximize the benefits of the powerhouse workout. For this set, perform 10-12 repetitions for each exercise, and repeat 2 to 3 times.
Here’s an example of a “powerhouse” workout that covers the stabilizers and movers of the core:
- Hip bridge holds + Front plank holds
- Back plank holds + Side plank holds
Start holds for 10-15 seconds each and increase time as it becomes easier to hold. Repeat holds for 2 or 3 times if you can.
- Straight legged sit-ups
- Trunk hyperextensions
- Seated trunk rotations
Perform 10-12 repetitions for each exercise. Repeat 2 to 3 times if you can.
Written by J’juan White and Angela Dendas-Pleasant.