The most important muscle group in your body may be your core. They literally hold you up. Your core muscles are responsible for posture and are the basis of your strength. Your arms, legs and head rely on your core for support and balance.
Standing exercises demand the most from your core. If you’re seated or lying down, your body uses any surface you recline on to create stability, making the core lazy. Endless sets of situps and leg raises take your core only so far. Consider adding these three simple and effective exercises to your weekly workout, and you will be lifting, walking, sitting, reading and talking with increased strength and better posture.
The overhead press is a full-body exercise offering a dramatic core training effect. Grip the bar as it rests on your clavicle. Take a deep breath to create abdominal pressure and activate the muscles of your inner core. Tighten your glutes to lock your hips in place and tighten your abs to keep the rib cage down. Contract the core hard, press the weight up and hold the weight overhead. Your inner core, abs and glutes should feel tight and locked before letting the weight down. Complete 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps on an upper body training day.
Bend the knees slightly and keep the shins vertical, hips back and back straight. Keeping your back and arms completely straight at all times, use your hips to lift the bar as you exhale. The movement should not be fast but steady and under control. Once you are standing completely straight up, lower the bar by pushing the hips back, only slightly bending the knees, unlike when squatting. Complete 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps on a lower body training day.
The suitcase carry is the simplest core exercise of all. Hold weight in one hand, get as tall as possible, and take it for a walk while resisting the weight’s pull on your body. Dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells work well as training implements. Barbells are the most difficult but offer the greatest grip and core stabilization challenge. Do 3-4 sets of 25-40 steps on each side of your body.