What Is Your Core?
The core can be defined as all the muscles between your hips and shoulders. Your abs, lower back muscles, and even some of the upper body muscles like the chest can be considered part of the core. This can be a bit confusing, particularly if you try to think of all the muscles included (there are a lot).
While there are specific core exercises, much of what you do at TS involves the core. Squats, deadlifts, pull-ups and push-ups, lunges, etc. All involve the core muscles to stabilize the upper body and keep you from falling over or twisting uncontrollably. When you think about it, most exercises are core exercises in some capacity.
How To Target The Core
The question is, how do we target the core? Ab exercises are pretty good at isolating four of the many-core muscles (there are four abdominal muscles). However, we prefer to do things like the plank and bear crawl hold at TS. That’s because they have more carryover to exercises like the squat and deadlift, and because they work more of the core than more simple, isolating ab exercises.
The plank and bear crawl hold are two of our favorites. Both work the abs, hips and shoulders simultaneously. That’s probably why they’re so uncomfortable! Here are some tips for mastering both of these exercises:
Tips To Plank Better
- Don’t let your butt rise up when you get tired. Keep your body in a straight line!
- Pull your belt buckle up towards your chin. In other words, tilt your butt back and flex your ab muscles.
- Knees straight! Keep your knees locked out the whole time. If they bend, it makes the exercise easier.
- To make it harder, lift one leg or one arm into the air. Don’t be surprised if you start to tremble a little!
Tips To Bear Crawl Better
- Pull your belt buckle up towards your chin. Your back should actually round slightly when you do the bear crawl hold and your abs should be flexing. To feel your abs flex, exhale through your mouth quickly and squeeze your abs.
- Keep your elbows locked out. Bending your elbows can put too much pressure on your shoulders. We’re trying to focus on the core, so give your shoulders a break and keep the elbows straight.
- Put a sandbag on your back. Not only will the extra weight make it harder to hold, the sandbag will let you know if your body is leaning too far to one side or the other.
- To make it harder, try lifting a hand or foot off the ground. If you want to get fancy, lift your opposite foot and hand at the same time!