Core conditioning — It’s not just about abs

Before We Begin:
Core conditioning — It’s not just about abs

Despite the hype we all see online, spot exercising abdominal muscles won’t get rid of fat.

So lets be clear – doing more core work will not be the only determining factor of whether or not you end up with a “flat stomach”

The only way to do that is to expend more calories than you take in – yup, the good old calorie deficit. Your nutrition cannot be avoided when it comes to wanting to change the look of our stomachs.

HOWEVER, if you are like us, workouts arent about “how we look” & more to do with how they add value to the way we can move our bodies and experience life!

In any fitness program there should be a place for strengthening a variety of trunk muscles, collectively known as “the core.”

“Core conditioning improves posture, which contributes to a trimmer appearance (poor posture can give even a woman with well-toned abs a little “pot”). Moreover, developing core muscle strength can boost the effectiveness of workouts and reduce the risk of injuries that sideline our efforts to stay in shape” Harvard Health Publishing

Read below an exert from Harvard Health Publishing that clearly but simply expands on Core Conditioning.

REMEMBER : You should always consult your allied health professional BEFORE beginning any new workout/program. If you are in doubt whether the movements shared in this group are appropriate for you – consult your allied health professional before beginning.

Getting at the core
If you’ve ever had physical therapy to treat low back pain, you’re probably familiar with the concept of strengthening the core — the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis that lie roughly between the rib cage and the hips. The strength and coordination of these muscles is important not only for sports and fitness routines but also for daily life — for example, reaching up to a shelf, lifting a child, or sponging a spot off the floor.
The current drive behind core conditioning comes in part from studies conducted in the 1990s showing that before they move an arm or leg, people with healthy backs (in contrast with those suffering from low back pain) automatically contract their core muscles, especially the transverse abdominal muscles, which wrap from the sides of the lower back around to the front. Experts concluded that well-coordinated core muscle use stabilizes the spine and helps create a firm base of support for virtually all movement. The role of the core is also central to the Pilates method, a series of exercises developed during World War I to help rehabilitate soldiers returning from the war. Its founder, Joseph Pilates, referred to the core as the “powerhouse.”
These days, patients who are receiving physical therapy for chronic low back pain or injury are told to contract their core muscles before performing prescribed exercises. And Pilates exercises are increasingly incorporated into health club workouts, along with other approaches that engage the core, such as fitness (stability) balls, yoga, and tai chi.
Exercises that strengthen abdominal and other core muscles should be part of an overall fitness plan that includes regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, 30 minutes per day, most days of the week. Guidelines also encourage us to get 20 to 30 minutes of strength training two to three times a week, and that might be a good time to fit in a few exercises designed to work the core.

To be safe and effective, core muscle strengthening exercises require proper alignment and progression from one type of exercise to another — adjusted to your body and fitness level. So you may want to ask a physical therapist or exercise professional for help in planning a program for you. (If you haven’t been physically active or have back problems or some other medical condition, consult a clinician before embarking on any fitness program.)
You’ll probably start by learning how to “draw in” — the first step in performing all core exercises and a basic tool you can use in almost any physical activity you perform (including walking).
Here’s what you do: Sitting, standing, or lying on your back, gently but firmly tighten the abdominal muscles, drawing the navel in toward the small of the back. The tailbone should be slightly tucked. (Some trainers prefer to call it “bracing” the muscles, as if you were preparing to take a punch in the stomach.) Practice holding this position for 10 seconds at a time while breathing normally (that’s the hard part!).
Once you get the hang of drawing in, you can start doing some core exercises, progressing from those you do on a stable surface (the floor or a mat) to those performed on an unstable surface, like a stability ball.