Core Exercises - The simplest way for total fitness
Core exercises train your deep abdominal muscles - the main one is called the transversus abdominis. You can think of your transversus abdominis as your internal weight belt. It's a very deep muscle that surrounds your entire waist, supporting all your abdominal structures including your lower back.
Of course - this is why we exercise! Well, mostly why we exercise. :-) Core training flattens your abs better and faster than any other abdominal workout.
Due to lower back strength your posture improves visibly.
Most people do abdominal exercises as part of their regular routines. These are important, and yet abdominal exercises per se focus on the superficial abdominal muscles - primarily the rectus abdominis.
A strong and healthy lower back requires a strong and healthy group of core muscles - the TVA, multifidus, erector spinae, longissimus thoracis, rectus abdominis, and internal and external obliques. A strong core provides weight-bearing support to the lower back, freeing your spinal vertebras, joints, and muscles to do what they were designed to do - move your body around in space.
Core training provides remarkable unexpected benefits, including improved balance and coordination. Core training creates more and better links between your brain - specifically your cerebellum - and your body. The cerebellum is responsible for muscular coordination, balance, and positional awareness - proprioception - your body's awareness of its positioning in three-dimensional space. So core fitness means your brain is fit, too, and your body's own intelligence goes up very quickly.
Another unexpected benefit of core fitness. Improved flexibility is the natural result of improved lower back stabilization. A strong group of core muscles takes weight-bearing pressure off your lower back, removing an ongoing, daily source of lower-back muscular stress and strain. These muscles and ligaments are freed-up to go through their entire ranges of motion, providing improved natural mobility and flexibility.
The TVA is directly connected to the diaphragm. When the core muscles are well-trained and working properly, your ability to breathe in fully and breathe out fully is greatly improved. More air means more oxygen - the performance of all your body systems is upgraded as a result. Pretty remarkable.
Most of us have had some kind of lower back trouble here and there. Most of these lower back problems result from bearing too much or too sudden weight in the lower back. A strong set of core muscles helps prevent or minimize such damage by providing more a efficient weight-bearing mechanism. Your back muscles and ligaments are not primarily designed to bear weight. Their primary function is to move your body around in three-dimensional space. A strong core allows for more normal spinal function and lower back problems are reduced.
In the old days you'd carry around a weight belt when you worked out at the gym. You'd put on the weight belt when you were doing squats, deadlifts, or shoulder presses with a barbell. The belt provided stabilization and supported your lower back, allowing you to lift heavier weights and reduce the risk of injury. In those days people didn't know about core training. With core exercises, you strengthen your own internal weight belt. The TVA and other core muscles even do a better job than the old leather weight belts. They're a natural part of your body and know what they're supposed to do. All you need to do is keep these muscles fit and well-trained.
Basically, any sport that requires both aerobic performance and flexibility is improved with core training. Core exercises enhance your respiratory capacity and your balance, coordination, and flexibility. The result is upgraded athletic performance - you have more stamina and your sport-specific skills improve. Core training is literally a one-stop shop for fitness.
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