Workout Wednesday: Importance of Core Strengthening

Below is another great post from Lacey Lee! This week’s topic is focusing on your core…I love that Lacey gives great exercises for both beginner and intermediate readers.

You may be lying if you said you don't care what your mid-section looks like. This area of the body seems to
be the one that people so desperately want thinner, more defined etc. Our mid-section has numerous names
- stomach, belly, abs and core. Core is what I personally like to call it simply b/c it says so much.

By definition CORE means:
1. The hard or fibrous central part of certain fruits, such as the apple or pear, containing the seeds.
2. The central or innermost part
3. The basic or most important part; the essence

Our mid-section is the “core” of our body. This refers to the muscles that attach to the spine, shoulder and
pelvis that provide the necessary stability to hold your body upright with good posture. The core is the link
between the upper and lower body. Core muscles include abdominals, hip flexors and rotators, glutels,
shoulder and back muscle.

Every motion we make in life comes from our core. When you walk down the grocery aisle and reach for a
can of soup - this movement originates in your core. When we get out of a chair - yep, you guessed it -
comes from your core. When your core is strong you will perform your day to day motions more effectively
and efficiently.

Yes, we want our core to look good but it serves a much better purpose. Focusing on core strength should
be an integral part of your workout routines. It’s not just about the front part of your core that needs
attention - your back muscles are equally important. After all - these muscles support our spine.

Unfortunately back pain has tormented too many people (including myself). While I am not saying core
exercises you will have you pain free - you will however be on the correct path of correct posture and
preventing further injury. Most back, shoulder, neck, hips, etc ailments have come from a de-conditioned
body as most of us have horrible posture. This can be from desk jobs or just years of bad habits. When you
strengthen your core one of the first things you may notice is when you walk or sit in a chair you are more

Lying on the floor and doing crunches are okay (certainly better than doing nothing at all) but you will get
much more benefit from doing movements that involve your “whole” core. Exercises that mimic
movements you make every day. How often do you find yourself laying on the floor and needing to
“crunch” up? Not very often. We do however get in and out of our cars. We twist to reach for something.
We turn as we are sitting. The list goes on. Below are excellent core exercises that will not only focus on
your entire core but help prevent you from hurting yourself as you do your day to day movements.

Remember from last week’s blog – use a stability ball, bosu, kettlebell, etc when possible! That way you know you are ALWAYS working your core in your workouts!
Lacey’s 5 TOP Core Exercises
1. Plank
Beginner – lie on the floor and prop yourself up on your elbows and knees. Flatten out your body (without
hyper-extended your back) and hold for 30 secs – 1 min.
Advanced – prop yourself up on your elbows and toes and hold for 30 secs. – 1 min.
*make sure you keep your shoulders over your elbows*

2. Russian Twist
Beginner – sit on your bum with your heels in front of you. Lean back slightly and reach your left hand to
your right hip and your right hand to your left hip – allowing your torso to twist as much as you can.
Advanced – balance on your bum with our feet off the ground. Twist side to side – even put a weight in your
hand to make it even harder.

3. Bicycles
Lie on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the
shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously
turning the upper body to the right, taking the left elbow towards the right knee. Switch sides, bringing the
right elbow towards the left knee.

4. Reverse crunch
Lie on the floor with your hands behind your head. Raise both legs straight up in the air. While keeping your
head down the whole time(very important to keep head down) – roll your hips up. Do 15-20. *It’s a very
small range of motion. You are targeting your lower abs which are smaller muscles and usually people’s
weakest area. *

5. Side Plank Twist
Beginner – lay on one side of your body. Prop your body up on your elbow and your knee. Touch your ear
and bring that elbow to the fist that’s on the floor. Your body will twist forward. Then let the elbow (not the
one on the floor) come up to point to the ceiling. Do 12-15. Switch sides
Advanced – Prop yourself up on the side of the bottom of your shoe (not your ankle) and your elbow. And
perform same move as above. Do 12-15. Switch sides.

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