Everyday we see advertisements for a flatter stomach or six pack abs when what we really should be focusing on is our core. And that means the whole core, which extends far beyond the abs. Developing your core muscles is going to help to develop your abs but will give you a functional strength that you won’t get from simply training the abs. Core work is a very important component of my raw vegan fitness.
People focus so much on the abs and generally neglect the other core muscles, which is a mistake. Training the abs only is mostly for show. If you want functional strength and stability you will need to train the entire core.
What is the core?
Your core muscles are working in every movement that you do. Bending forward and backward, rotational movements and side to side twisting are all controlled by the core. It is actually a number of muscles which help to stabilize and move your spine. These core muscles are located in the lower back, stomach and hips which is why training only the abs leads to an incomplete and unbalanced core.
The diaphragm, pelvic floor, multifidi, deep cervical flexors and transverse abdominus make up the inner core, which is the first group of muscles to engage during breathing or movement to protect the spine. The outer core muscles are comprised of the abs, lats, spinal erectors, glute complex, quadratus lumborum and hip flexors.
Why train the core?
Now that we know what the core is, let’s talk about the importance of training it. I mentioned about how the core is working in every movement that you do, so it stands to reason that you will move better the stronger your core is.
Your core is your base, the foundation for your whole body. A strong core will also make you strong in other areas of your body, improve posture and help to avoid back pain. By supporting the spine, these core muscles also assist when doing such exercises as squats and dead-lifts.
Whether for athletic purposes or to stay pain free throughout life you can see that having a strong core is important. I had minor lower back pain before I started practicing yoga a couple of years ago. Without focusing directly on the core there is a lot of yoga postures that do engage the core muscles.
Over the last year I have been focusing on my core as part of my training program and have been pleased with the results. The base of my training program has been Convict Conditioning. I will discuss this and a couple more exercises I do next.
My Core Training
I will finish with a short video of some of some of the exercises I use to strengthen my core. Let me stress that I am not a professional and am only showing what I do to train my core. I also practice yoga regularly and the core is engaged in some many poses in the practice. I will finish by saying I have come a long way but I still have a long way to go!