Posts Tagged ‘Core

12
Aug
13

Top 7 Exercises for More Core Muscle Strength


Sitting for long periods of time has a detrimental effect on our “core” muscles. These are the muscles responsible for keeping us upright and allowing us to twist and bend without falling over. It is important to keep these muscles strengthened in order to avoid chronic lowWoman holding soccer ball back pain and injuries that may result from lifting heavy objects. The stronger your core, the less prone you are to injury. The following seven core muscle exercises are particularly good for strengthening these muscles. Hold each pose (except for the bicycle ab crunch) for at least 10 seconds and repeat 5 to 10 times.

Superman – Lie face-down on the floor with your arms straight out in front of you and your knees together. Simultaneously lift your arms, upper chest and legs off the floor, balancing on your pelvis.

Bridge ­– Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, as close to your buttocks as possible, with your arms close to your sides. Contracting your abdominal muscles, raise your hips toward the ceiling until a straight line is formed between your knees and neck.

Modified V-sit – Start while seated on the floor with your knees bent in front of you and feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly on your hands and lift your feet off the floor so you are balanced on your buttocks (making a sort of square root symbol), then hold your arms straight out in front of you, on each side of your knees. Once you have gained some experience, you can work up to straightening your legs so you form a “V.”

Plank – Lie on your stomach with your elbows close to your sides and directly under the shoulders, with palms down and hands facing forward. Keeping your legs straight, lift your entire torso and hips off the floor, balancing on your toes and forearms. Your head should be parallel with your spine, looking at the floor.

Side plank – Start by lying on your side, resting on your forearm and on the outside of your foot, with one foot on the other. Placing your elbow directly beneath your shoulder, align your head with your spine while keeping your hips and knee in contact with the floor. Lift your hips and knees off the floor, keeping your upper arm flat against your side and balancing on your forearm and foot. For a greater challenge, raise up onto your hand and stretch your upper arm out, forming a leaning “T.”

Bird dog – On your hands and knees, place your hands directly below your shoulders, while aligning your head and neck with your back. Stretch your left arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor, while extending your right leg straight out behind you, being sure not to arch your lower back. Repeat with opposite arm and leg.

Bicycle ab crunch – Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head. Curl your body forward, like performing a crunch, bringing your left knee towards your right elbow while extending your right leg out, lifted slightly off the floor. Keeping your shoulders off the floor, switch your crunch to right knee and left elbow, while extending the left leg. Keep alternating from left to right for about a minute.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

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29
Nov
12

Core Strength: What it is and Why it Matters


Core strength is a concept often talked about in health centers, gyms and yoga studios but what is it and why does it matter?

In human beings, the majority of movement originates from the lower part of the torso (the lumbar spine and abdomen).  This is the part of the body that tenses first and keeps the body balanced during running, lifting, twisting and other normal day-to-day movements.  Strength in this region is a basic building block from which to develop power in other areas of the body and is fundamental to maintaining good posture and spinal alignment.

Anatomically speaking, the core region of the body consists of the lower back, abdomen, pelvis and diaphragm.  The main muscle groups include the transversus abdominus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis and erector spinae.  It is these muscles that often need strengthening due to the fact that on a daily basis most of us are far less active than our ancestors who worked at more physically demanding jobs.

We’ve known about the importance of core strength for a long time.  Yoga and Pilates teachers, martial artists and qi gong practitioners all move from the same center of gravity and balance in the core region and view this area as the nexus of human power and energy.  They stress the importance of strengthening the core through breathing exercises and meditation as well as physical movement.  Since the core region of the body contains the diaphragm, ease of breathing is both a sign and result of good core strength.  Back pain, on the other hand, may well be a sign that core strength needs to be improved.

For those who practice sports, proper alignment is particularly important to prevent injuries during physical exertion.  If the core muscles are not strong enough to support the spine during movement, then other muscle groups will be used to perform the action with a much greater risk of damage.  The rest of us also need to be conscious of our core strength since we all engage in strenuous action at various points in our lives (lifting boxes, running to catch a bus, playfully swinging a child, etc.).

While chiropractors are always willing to help patients in need of treatment, the ultimate goal of chiropractic care is for everyone to have the best possible spinal health.  Good core strength definitely contributes to that, whether you are otherwise healthy or have an ongoing postural problem.  If you want to improve your spinal health and posture and reduce your chance of injury, working on core strength through a balanced program of exercise is a very good, and inexpensive, way of going about it.

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP

 




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