Every few years ,someone comes up with something new in the field of exercise and exercise equipment; whether it’s new stair climbers, elliptical trainers, treadmills, or even special tools for firming your abs, thighs, or buns. As I’m sure you’ll agree, there is always something being promoted as the newest, best answer to all of your exercise, weight loss and toning needs.
However, in the last few years a popular new piece of equipment has made a big impact on the work scene. In fact, you’ve probably seen them at your gym. It’s the exercise ball with the concept of body building and strengthening your core muscles.
Your “core” is the central area of your body (within your torso) where all body movement originates. That is why the concept of core training and core workouts can form a basic building block of your exercise routine; with a strong core, everything else is easier!
Your core muscles aid in transferring power between your upper and lower body,but what kind of core exercises can you do? Here are few easy ones to start.
Simple Core Training Exercises
Getting yourself into a push-up position, on your toes, leaning on your elbows and forearms rather than your hands. This is called the “plank” position, and it’s a good core exercise.
You can also do crunches by leaning your lower back into your exercise ball; knees bent with feet flat on the floor, and then pull your upper torso forward by contracting your abdominal muscles. Again, by using the ball, you’re forced to bring your obliques into this movement to keep your balance and to remain steady – a benefit lost by working out on a floor mat instead of a ball.
Another popular exercise is the bridge. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent, arms beside you with palms on the floor. Then raise your hips up into the air, trying to make a flat angle of your body from your knees down to your head, and hold them there for about 6-10 seconds. Lower and repeat.
Instead of using a flat bench for flys or curls, try using an exercise ball instead. In addition to lifting the weights, you will also have to concentrate on stabilizing yourself on the ball. It’s tough at first, but worth the extra effort.
Place the ball between you and a wall. Place your lower back against the ball and push into the wall. Then very slowly bend at the knees until you are in a sitting position. It’s a different take on the traditional squat. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and you’ll have made the movement even more challenging. Remember, in addition to working out your lower body, you are also building your core strength.
If you are new to core training, then start with the ball up against a wall or other object on one side to provide some additional stability. You don’t want to fall off the ball and risk injury.
Add one or two core exercises to your workout routine, and within a few weeks you will notice big changes. You will feel better and move better, and you will notice a positive change in every other aspect of your workout.