Core Workouts for Long-Term Health & Performance
From Salute Magazine By Dan Macomber, Certified Personal Trainer
As summer approaches, so does the desire to work on our beach bods. When the weather gets nicer and temperatures rise, ab machines all around the world become more and more popular with gym-goers. Usually, this is to achieve the highly coveted six pack. But, I have some bad news for you: As the old adage goes, “abs are made in the kitchen.” What does that mean for us? Should we give up on our beloved planks and ab roll-outs? Negative. Everyone just needs to understand, if you really want six pack abs, the answer is to lower your body fat percentage with appropriate diet and exercise over time not to get ripped instantly. This in no way means that we should neglect our mid-sections, though. On the contrary: Core strength helps people through their daily lives and promotes overall long-term health.
Some people choose to hit their core at the end of every workout. Others like to group core workouts with other specific muscle groups. If you finish your workout session every other day with a core finisher, you will be working your core frequently enough to make progress towards your goals. Also, the days that are the non-core finisher allow for proper recovery.
Planks are some of the best core exercises out there. Most people are familiar with the traditional plank that is performed by creating a straight line from heels to head with your elbows directly under your shoulders. But, there are many variations: high planks, low planks, high to low planks, side planks, and shoulder touch planks just to name a few.
One aspect of the core that is commonly neglected is the lower back. My favorite posterior chain core exercise is called the superman. To perform this exercise, lay flat on your stomach and slowly raise your arms and legs about 3-5 inches off the ground. Hold that position for about 2 seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
Remember, core workouts are for core strength that will promote long-term health and support your active lifestyle! But, you may just get beach ready, too!