This is part two of our mini-series on at-home workout moves that work!
Part two is dedicated to your core.
Focusing on your core can make a significant difference to your overall strength, range of motion and stability. Abdominal muscles are closest to the central axis of the body, making them key for movement – including balance, stability and injury prevention. Energy in the core extends to the rest of our bodies, allowing even our arms and legs to function optimally.
Strong core muscles aren’t just important for bodybuilders who want an aesthetically pleasing profile! A stable core makes it easier for us to do the simplest of activities, including bending down to tie our shoes, reaching up to get something off of a tall shelf, swinging a tennis racket, and millions of other every day activities. A strong core will also improve your posture, reduce lower back pain and reduce the potential of future injuries.
If there’s one area of the body on which to focus, it’s your core! To help you get started, our very own, Ashlan Quantrille, is sharing her favorite core workouts for you here.
Strengthening the core
Abdominal exercises can be incorporated into your weekly fitness regime as a supplement to the workouts you’re already doing. A good starting place is to add core exercises one to two times per week until you establish strength and familiarity with the movements. Remember, though -- it's important to give all muscle groups time to recover in between workouts.
Try to do each exercise or a variation with 10-20 repetitions and 3-5 sets. Once you feel more comfortable and stable you can add more reps, more sets, or different core exercises.
Tip: add resistance bands or weight such as a medicine ball or dumbbell to add an extra challenge. But start light to avoid straining or injuring your muscles!
To stretch the abdominal muscles, lie face down, placing your hands under your shoulders, palms facing down. Push up with your arms to lift your chest off the ground. Keep your hip bones pressed into the floor; continue pushing your hips down and stretching your upper torso upward to stretch the abs.