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Your Core -- What It Is And How To Strengthen It, Part 1

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Your core, what is it? Is it just your abs? Is it your low back and abs? This is the first article in a series of three that will address these questions and many misconceptions individuals have pertaining to one’s core. When looking at the core it is important to realize that the abs play just a small part in the core. Your “core” actually consists of several muscles that help to stabilize the spine, pelvis, and shoulder providing a foundation for movement of the extremities (arms and legs). In order to strengthen one’s core all of these muscles MUST be worked. A stronger core will allow one to stand upright and move with more ease. A strong core is essential to allow energy to transfer as well as enabling one to shift their weight in any direction.

So what muscles are in your core? The first part of our series will address the primary muscles in the on the frontal plane of the body (basically what one considers to be there “abs” excluding the obliques which will be addressed in the next article). Keep in mind, these are only a few examples of exercises that can be done. There are hundreds.

* Rectus Abdominus – located in the front of the abdomen, this is most commonly referred to as the “six-pack”. While many think you have upper and lower abs, it is actually this one muscle that you are able to see on individuals that have a low body fat %. Crunches on the floor, ball, with feet in air, etc… will target this area. This area also gets worked when you keep your stomach tight and in virtually any movement that engages the abs.

*Transverse Abdominus (TVA) - located under the obliques, this is the deepest abdominal muscle. It actually wraps around your spine for protection. This is a hard area to target and while not visible to the naked eye is extremely important in developing a solid foundation. In order to incorporate the TVA think of sucking your belly button into up into your back. When you using a stability ball, bosu ball, Pilates ring or an unstable service the TVA is engaged in order to help you stabilize. This is why crunches on a ball or more effective then on the floor.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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