How strong is your core? If you want to have good functional fitness, strong core muscles are essential.
Your core is central to everything – and when it’s strong your back, pelvis, abs, hips all work together like a perfectly oiled machine!
However, weak core muscles can bring about various problems. So check out these signs telling you your core muscles need strengthening:
1. POOR POSTURE
If you spend a lot of time hunched over a desk your shoulders may slump and neck stick out like a chicken as you stand or sit. This is a classic sign of a weak core and is very common. You need to strengthen all the core muscles to help improve your posture.
Solution: Whenever you sit or stand, consciously pull in your abs and hold your spine as erect as possible.
During weight training exercises or using gym equipment for the core focus on tightening your core muscles – you also get a double-whammy of muscle toning!
2. LOWER BACK PAIN
Back pain and weak core muscles are directly linked. If your core isn’t as strong as it should be the other muscles have to compensate, which is where back pain comes in. Research shows that people who suffer from back pain show definite improvement after doing core exercises – so they’re worth doing.
Solution: First, ensure your chair is ergonomically-friendly.
Next, perform these 5 exercises to improve your core strength three or four times a week. Take them slowly and work the intensity up.
3. DIFFICULTY IN HOLDING A PLANK
If you can’t hold a standard plank for 30 seconds you’re likely to be lacking in core strength. 60 seconds or more and you’re in good shape. A weak core makes your spine sag – a classic ‘tell-tale’ sign of muscle weakness.
Solution: Start with wall planks. Stand with feet facing a wall, place hands on the wall then proceed to perform a floor plank, but on the wall.
Plank variations, especially side planks are great for training the obliques and smaller muscles so also practice these.
4. POOR BALANCE
Check out your balance. Stand with feet 8 inches apart. Close your eyes and lift one foot off the ground. Start counting. If you can’t stand in this position for at least 10 seconds you probably need to work on your core muscles.
Solution: Incorporate more balancing challenges into your routines, such as standing on one leg during bicep curls or using a wobble board or exercise ball. Lunges are also great for improving balance.