So many training programs focus on strengthening your core, but have you ever wondered WHY? No, it’s not just because you want a six-pack to look cool. The truth is that having a stronger core benefits your body in a lot of different ways—everything from easier movement to better posture to enhanced performance. Here are some of the main reasons why you need a stronger core:
Less Back Pain
Do you know why you are suffering from lower back pain? Usually it’s the result of damage to the joints of your spine, caused by some sudden incorrect movement or excess strain placed on the joint. Your body reacts by triggering inflammation (swelling) in the muscle. The swollen muscle will act as a cushion and brace to prevent more incorrect and potentially dangerous movements of the spine, which is why your back feels stiff when it’s injured. A strong core will give your muscles the strength to support your spine without the need for inflammation. Strong back and abs muscles ensures that your spine is well-protected.
Better Athletic Performance
When you play sports, lift weights, or train, you may think that your limbs are doing most of the work. This is true, but where do you think the power to move your limbs is generated? Your biceps, triceps, and shoulders can only generate so much power—the vast majority of the power comes from your core. Think about the power you need to throw a football, swing a baseball bat, or kick a soccer ball. All that strength that goes into your movements starts with tension in your core muscles. By strengthening your core and increasing your ability to balance in unstable environments, you prepare your body for the sudden, strong movements that are common in sports.
When you strengthen your core muscles, you give your spine the support it needs to keep your upper body erect. The muscles support your upper body, so there is no need for your weight to rest on your spine—meaning less spinal compression. When you strengthen your core, you enable your muscles to sustain your weight evenly. You also open up your hip flexors and builds the abdominal wall that holds you upright. The result is much better posture with far less effort.
When you train your core muscles, you encourage new muscle growth. This means that there is more active muscle tissue present, which in turn will help to utilize the energy produced by your body. Muscle burns a lot more calories than fat, so you’ll notice a visible increase in your metabolism. Plus, the muscles in your core will burn the excess body fat stored specifically in your gut, sides, and lower back. Strengthening your core will help to drop body fat and get a slimmer, sleeker waist line.
Core training can lead to better breathing in a number of ways. Not only will you decrease your body fat—thereby decreasing the weight on your abdomen and diaphragm—but you’ll strengthen the muscles that are involved in respiration. During the workouts, you’ll train your lungs to be more efficient at absorbing oxygen with each breath. By aligning your spine and improving your posture, you’ll re-align your organs into the proper position for optimal function—including optimal lung function. If you mix HIIT training into your core workouts, you’ll drastically increase your aerobic capacity and your ability. Work out more to train your core, and you’ll end up breathing much more efficiently!