It can help release energy into the different parts of your body, while improving your overall performance, health and balance. Here’s a few key exercises to improve your core stability.
What is core stability?
Improving your core strength and stability has become increasingly important to perform well across all sports. It can help improve your strength, performance and avoid any injuries.
But what does working on your core stability actually imply?
The idea is to strengthen both your superficial and deep core muscles through specific exercises. These muscles are key to connecting your bust and abdomen.
Good news is you just need to integrate a few simple exercises into your existing fitness routine. The most common exercises are push ups, abs exercises, squats and pull ups. Each one of these exercises aims to strengthen your core muscles. The big difference between these exercises and classic ab exercises is you have to contract your muscles and hold them as long as possible to maintain your posture.
Core strengthening: what is it helpful for?
As we mentioned before, core exercises will not only help strengthen your superficial muscles, but also those deep ab muscles (the transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis and obliques).
These exercises can also help tone your back muscles and improve overall performance. You can have high upper body strength, or lower body strength, but you need that central part of your body to be able to transfer energy from one part of your body to another.
With a strong core, you can execute all your movements with more force, whether during a fitness routine or in your daily life.
How to test your core strength?
You can do this with a simple test. First, get in a push-up or plank position, putting your weight on your forearms and not your hands. Make sure your body is straight and you do not arch your back. Hold this position as long as possible. Stop counting each time your hips drop or your knees touch the floor.
Here’s a simple rule of thumb to evaluate how to rate your strength:
> Less than 30 seconds: poor
> 30 seconds to 1 minute: average
> 1 to 2 minutes: good
> More than 2 minutes: excellent
How can you increase your core strength?
Twice a week, preferably in the morning, do 3 sets of any isometric exercise (in a static position). Hold for 1 minute each time, with a recovery of 30 seconds between each set. The plank is a good example for this type of exercise.
Over time, add variations to your training. For example, you can increase the level of difficulty by using a medicine ball or Swiss ball. These accessories will create a bigger imbalance, increasing the muscular effort needed to hold your position.
If you don’t have any accessories, you can increase the difficulty with your own body. You can hold your plank and lift your left arm and right leg off the ground for one set, and then alternate with the other leg and arm. When you do this, make sure the lifted limbs are aligned with the rest of your body.
To improve, remember to listen to your body. You’ll be better off starting with one session a week and slowly increasing the number of sessions, than do 4 sessions a week and stop training after only a month. You should increase the number and difficulty of sessions depending on what feels right for you to progress.
In addition to these core exercises, don’t forget to have a balanced diet and do some cardio at least once a week (on a treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical…). Try to do it for 30 to 45 minutes. Increasing your endurance will help eliminate fat, including around your core.