Many years ago "Core Training" was the catch phrase in fitness training. At that time it was rare for me to have a conversation about fitness and not have the phrase mentioned. What I found then and is still true today is that most people, even experienced exercisers don't really understand what "Core Training" is, and it's real benefits. So let me take a few minutes to define "Core Training" and 5 Crystal Clear Benefits of Core Training.
Core Activation - def.
A Core Training program focuses on developing muscles attached to the hips, pelvis, lower back, and abdominals. Take your right hand and place it just below your chest, now take your left hand and place it just below your pants pocket. Generally speaking the muscles in this area make up your core muscles.
Now with a better understand of Core Activation here are the 5 Crystal Clear Benefits of Core Activation:
Benefit #1 Core Activation Will Make You Stronger and More Stable:
A properly administered Core Training program will properly strengthen your core muscles while creating the foundation for strengthening and toning muscles all over your body.
Benefit #2 Core Activation Will Help You Burn Tons of Calories and Lose Weight Faster:
Ultimately a Core Training program has you activating all of the muscles from the bottom of your chest to just above your knee during exercise and during your daily activity. As a result during your workout and during your daily activity you will be creating more work being done by your body and increasing calorie expenditure.
Benefit #3 Core Activation Generally Helps To Decrease Back Pain:
Drawing your stomach in toward your spine takes your intra abdominal pressure and uses it to stabilize your spine. Stabilizing your spine while you move, decreases the likelihood of you hurting yourself while you move.
Benefit #4 Core Activation Helps Improve Existing Muscle Imbalances:
Muscle imbalance happens when a set of muscles that move in one direction are over active relative to the muscles that move in the opposite direction. When you have lower back pain you normally have muscle imbalances in your core muscles. When you regularly and properly Activate your Core Muscles you inevitably change some of those muscle imbalances, and in turn improve joint positioning in your upper neck and spine, lower back, hips and legs. Once this happens you will significantly decrease you joint pain and muscle aches.
Benefit #5 Core Activation Helps Improve Your Balance and Walking Pattern:
Since Core Activation helps to stabilize every joint all over you body, a training program based on core activation allows you to use your core as your base. It is similar to the advantages that a tree with a strong trunk has over tree with a week trunk. Since your base is stabilized while you move you will see improved balance during all movements including while you walk.
For a fitness purest like me who understands and applies proper Core Activation for myself and my clients the general misunderstanding of these principles is frustrating. Frustrating because it is absolutely true that proper core activation does burn more calories and lead to faster weight loss, it does help to relieve and eliminate lower back pain and it does help people improve the ability to walk and run efficiently.
I have devoted a section of my Fitness Training blog to teaching Core Training principles using short video clips. You can get instant access at:
I hope this helps!
Jason Chiero, CPT
Published On: January 04, 2010