Tuesday, July 05, 2011

#Fitblog Abs Challenge: Core Muscles 101

While I was busy consuming pulled port at the Ribfest and relaxing at the cottage, I completely forgot about the new challenge that started.

It is never too late, so I am jumping in today! If you want to join in the Ab Challenge, check out #Fitblog Chats for all the details.

Every Tuesday, I will be posting my progress and workout routine for the week.  I will also share some tips, links and exercises to help you work your core.

Today, I just wanted to share the basics about your core and some things to think about when exercising those muscles.

What are your core muscles?
This is up for some debate which muscles are actually included in the core, but the following are generally recognized to be included:

  • The transverse abdoninus
  • The rectus abdominus
  • The internal and external obliques
  • The erector spinae
  • The multifidus
  • The pelvic floor
(A great image of these muscles can be found here)

Why is it important to strengthen the core?
These muscles help provide the body with balance and stability, thereby making daily activities easier.  While we do need cardiovascular activity to help burn body fat, working on your core will help to strengthen the underlying muscles.

How do you get started?
Here are a few things to think about when doing core exercises:

  • Add a variety of exercises.  You can see how many muscles are involved and in order to challenge them all, you need to mix up your workout.
  • Incorporate other forms of exercise.  One cannot get chiseled abs on crunches alone.  You need to add some cardio and other strength training to burn fat and rev up your metabolism.
  • Don't forget to stretch. It is so important to stretch to reduce the chance of injury and help relax the muscles
  • Rest days are just as important as workout days.  Just like any other muscle group, the core needs recovery time to get stronger.  I would suggest working on them every other day.

Are you taking part in the challenge?  What does your routine look like?

Stay Healthy,

P.S.  Next week, I will be posting some great exercises, but if you are looking for more tips to get started, check out Awesome Abs, Part 1

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