The core is more than your abs and serves a larger purpose than making you look good on the beach. To get the most out of your core training (learn more about core training), you have to understand what the core actually is and how to target its different muscle groups.
The Core Defined
The core is the foundation of the entire body. It includes muscles from the upper thighs up to the chest, including the internal and external obliques, pelvic floor musculature, multifidus, transverse abdominus, psoas major, adduct complex, rectus abdominus, quadratus lumborum, gluteus medius, and the diaphragm.
The Purpose of the Core
The primary purpose of the core is to stabilize the spine and transfer energy between the lower and upper body. If the core is weak, you will lose power when throwing, tackling or executing virtually any other skill, and also put yourself at risk of injury. Research has shown that low back pain, knee pain and even ankle pain can stem from a weak core.
Training Your Entire Core
The following three exercises are a great way to work the several different muscles of your core to improve your athletic performance and enhance your overall health.
Glute Bridge With March
- Lie with back on ground, knees bent and heels on ground
- Raise hips into bridge position so that only feet and shoulder blades touch ground
- Slowly pull right knee to chest and return to ground; repeat with left leg
- Continue in alternating fashion for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 3x5 each side
- Lie with middle of back on physioball and feet on floor
- Perform crunch; keep chin pointed toward sky
- Repeat for specified reps
Med Ball Rotational Throws
- Assume athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart
- Stand with partner or wall five yards to the left
- Explosively rotate through core and throw med ball at partner/wall
- Maintain tight abs and stable lower body during rotation
- Receive med ball and continuously repeat for specified reps
- Perform set with partner or wall to right
Sets/Reps: 2x10 each side
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock