Your core is a lot more important than you probably give it credit for, yet it’s abs-olutely (sorry, couldn’t resist that) key in virtually every movement your physical body performs. It helps give you a solid posture, so you can for example, handle increasing amounts of weight in the gym, it helps you run with grace and poise, can aesthetically help you look great and much more. Read on for Your Core: Why Train It? 4 Exercises to Reveal Your Hidden Abs!
1. Helps Your Posture
The main function of the abdominal core is to keep you stable with an erect posture and to also protect the spine. Having a weak core can result in back pain, causing back problems later on. They are also postural muscles so they help to discourage slouching. One of the major reasons why most of the population have poor posture can often be linked to the modern sedentary lifestyle and sitting down almost entirely throughout the day. Neglecting your abs, can lead to spiralling increases in belly fat and decreased bodily control, even to the point of struggling to hold yourself upright without a chair. You don’t want to go there!
2. Enables the Handling of Heavier Weights
Your core is a foundation stone of your body helping keep you in the correct position.
Having a weak core can limit the amount of weight you can handle because you might find your core giving out before your legs do making the movement more dangerous than it should be. If your core is weak it will rely on assistance from the hip flexors and then your legs will also add further pressure and resistance which will, in effect ‘short-circuit’ the number of reps you’ll be able to perform with the heavier weight.
3. Helps with Running
When running, your core muscles help you to stay balanced and upright enabling you to concentrate on speed and distance. You may see people when they are tired during a run leaning forward too much which is a result of a weak core and weak postural muscles. Again this can limit your pace and distance. Training your abs will also take a certain amount of pressure off your knees which is so important for runners as they already have to deal with the notorious effects of wear and tear which often accompanies running.
4. Enhances Definition, Encourages Fat Loss & Improves Appearance
The abdominals are muscles just like your biceps or your chest and they need to be stimulated in a similar fashion. Whether it be through direct targeting (sit ups) or weightlifting etc., these muscles will eventually reveal that coveted squared-off 6-pack that everyone dreams about. Having a good shoulder to hip ratio helps create that V-taper look that everyone ideally wants, but to lose body fat you need to make sure you are in a slight calorie deficit while eating the right foods and staying active throughout the day whilst training the abs, thus giving the muscle a reason to remain revealed!
4 Great Exercises that will Reveal Your Hidden Abs! (Beginner To Advanced)
So if you don’t tend to train abs as regularly as you should, then start with 5-10 minutes of ab work 3 times a week which, in 2-4 weeks’ time you’ll feel getting easier. Then you can increase the reps, add resistance, weight or decrease the rest time. Exercises that you should start with are:
Another function of the abs is spinal flexion, so a crunch is a great way to strengthen the abs whilst taking pressure off the lower back.
Another function of the core is stabilising the body, so holding a plank for 30-60 seconds can really help strengthen your abs. It’s important that you don’t feel any pain in your lower back when performing this, if you do you can swap it out for the plank variation, on your knees.
The leg raise works the lowest section or part of your abs. Doing this exercise and keeping it tightly focused in a narrow range of movement while keeping tension on them constantly will definitely help you to etch in and carve out your hidden Michelangelo masterpiece!
This works the oblique or ‘side abs’, helping you toward a better shape whilst helping to prevent injury so it’s just as important to train this, part HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), part ‘mountain climber’ movement. You’ll get the necessary ab-training while the HIIT element will help to burn fat and build muscle making this another highly useful tool to unveil those hidden abs!