If you’ve been to an Ohana class or spent any time at all around an instructor or trainer, then you’ve likely heard them ramble on about the importance of a strong core. But what does that really mean? Are they referring to your abdominal muscles or something else entirely?
What is your deep core?
The deep core involves the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, and multifidus muscles. Much more than your “abs,” which typically refers to just your rectus abdominis (or the pretty muscles you see when you look at your stomach), your deep core muscles work together to provide support and stability for your entire body.
The muscles of your deep core not only provide postural control and stability but also facilitate the transfer of power between your limbs as well as between your upper and lower body. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize core strength in your training program. The stronger your core is, the more powerful, dynamic, and explosive your movements will be, and the fewer injuries you’ll have.
Why the deep core is important
Core work is the center of every movement and is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. The deep core muscles of your pelvis, low back, hips, and abdomen need to work in harmony, which leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities.
10 Benefits of a Strong Core:
It supports better posture.
Your core wraps around your entire torso supporting your spine, so when your core is strong your posture is inherently better.
It improves balance.
Strengthening your core creates a solid foundation, making it easier to stay upright on uneven ground or to recover from a stumble.
It supports good running form.
Core strength helps you sustain proper running form, enabling the pelvis, hips, and low back to work together more smoothly with less excess energy expended.
It increases stability.
A strong core keeps your torso stabilized during exercise and everyday movements.
It protects your organs.
Organs like your liver, spleen, and kidneys sit underneath your abdominal wall, which acts as a protective shield from external forces.
It makes everyday life easier.
The stronger your core, the easier it is to execute everyday movements.
It can reduce or improve pain.
The ripple effects of a strong core, like better posture, improved balance, and ease of movement, can help you avoid low back pain.
It boosts your power.
The core is the center, and powerhouse, of all movement, so strengthening your core will improve athletic performance.
It supports strength training.
Weight training requires strength and stabilization which come from a strong core.
It helps you age well.
Core strength stabilizes your entire body which helps prevent falls, decreases back pain, and keeps you mobile as you age.
Exercises to strengthen your core
Strengthening your deep core can unlock greater total body strength, power, and athleticism and slash your risk of injury. But you don’t need to be an elite athlete or weekend warrior to benefit from a strong core.
Some of the most effective ways to build core strength are through compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, and pull-ups. Performed correctly, these exercises will help strengthen your core along with the rest of your body.
Bird dog, plank, dead bug, Russian twist, boat pose, side plank, hollow hold, rollups, and more are all great moves to target your deep core muscles and are often performed in both yoga and barre classes. In fact, taking a barre class with a certified instructor is one of the best ways to ensure you are working all of the muscles of your hips, back, and deep core.
To start working on your core, sign up for our 14-day trial of Ohana Online. Unlimited access to livestream and on-demand classes all from the comfort of your home. Sign up today!
Erin Entlich is a certified yoga instructor, personal trainer, holistic health coach, and writer. She believes doing good starts with feeling good, which is why she loves helping people weave movement, mindfulness, and healthy eating into their daily lives. Find out more at www.erinentlich.com.