Building Your Core
One of the best things you can do for your entire body is to strengthen your core. Your gluteals, hips, abdominals and lower back all comprise your core, and it is the foundation--or powerhouse as those who practice Pilates call it--of everything we do.
As with everything in fitness, building your core works best when you are also working to strengthen the rest of your body, which involves your cardiovascular, muscular and skeletal systems.
Building your core benefits every facet of your life since finding a good routine helps increase your balance and posture, which both help you to avoid falls and back pain, respectively. Prevent injuries and chronic pain with a strong core.
Finding the right core strengthening program may seem daunting at first since you have probably been barraged by endless television and print ads telling you how to achieve perfect abs. The constant stream of information--some of which is perfectly reasonable and some is not--can put you in a tailspin and have you sitting back on the sofa before you do your first crunch.
Start your new core regimen simply. Choose thee to four exercises and do them regularly, after your cardiovascular session or at the end of a weight lifting session.
Start with a classic crunch set wherein you lie on your back with your knees at a 45 degree angle. Slightly raise your head off the floor then pulse up, raising your shoulders up off the ground while making sure your lower back stays scooped into the floor.
Work your obliques from the same position with one small adjustment. Cross your ankle over one knee then bring your opposite elbow up to pulse in that direction.
Turn over onto your belly then raise onto your elbows with your palms flat on the floor and your fingers extending forward. Raise your body just above the floor to reach this plank position. Your abdominal--and other core muscles--will work to keep you suspended in air. You will be further strengthening these muscles as you make sure you line in a parallel position. Don't pop your gluteals up because, at that point, you will no longer be engaging your core muscles.
Keep Switching Things Up
Try not to let your core strengthening regimen stagnate. Keep it interesting by looking for new ways to work your muscles to continue working toward a strong core.