Core training is about so much more than just flat abs. A strong core provides the support your spine needs, while a weak core puts the entire body at risk for injury—especially the back. Toning the muscles in this area, including the abdominals, obliques, pelvic floor, and back muscles, can reduce back pain and prevent injury while effectively and safely building the core muscles.
How Does Core Strength Relate to Injury?
When the core muscles are too weak to support the spine, more pressure is placed on ligaments, bones, and discs. Over time, this can lead to increased wear and tear, heightening the risk for pain and injury. Strong core muscles allow all parts of the spine to work in harmony, improving balance, strength, and stability. Exercising the core muscles preserves mobility and makes certain regular activities easier, especially running, cycling, and swimming. In fact, almost every movement we make uses the core in some way, which makes these muscles a necessary foundation for strength training. With a strong core, posture is straighter, which keeps the spine in a healthy neutral position.
What Types of Exercises Build Core Strength?
Most core-strengthening exercises can be done at home, without the need for a gym membership or special equipment. Some of the most common core exercises include:
- Planks and side planks.
- Partial abdominal crunches.
- Pelvic bridges.
- Wall sits.
- Pelvic tilts.
- Fitness ball exercises.
Start slow. Form always comes before function. Work up to repeating exercises 10 to 12 times, and increase reps over time. Those who already have back pain should speak with their doctor to ensure these exercises are safe to begin. A doctor or physical therapist can also demonstrate the correct form and movements for each exercise to maximize the potential benefits and prevent injury. Modifications can also be made if certain movements cause pain.
Dr. Scott Nissenbaum offers a gentle, noninvasive approach to treating pain with chiropractic care and Active Release Therapy (A.R.T.). He can recommend exercises that strengthen the core and adjust your muscles and bones to reduce the risk of injury and alleviate pain. Those in the San Carlos area can contact Dr. Nissenbaum by email or schedule an appointment online.