Again, I, find my self amazed when talking with clients about the core muscle group. And, they think the core is only the abdomen region Or just a single muscle. The core is essentially our entire torso and/or mid-section. front, sides, and back. The core is quite literally the, "core" of the human body. And plays a vital roll in all activities and movements we perform on a daily basis including athletic movements. It can be said those with strong core's will excel in activities. The core plays a strong roll in breathing and respiration. The core is the stabilizer to the human body in just about all movements and activities. Think of it as a stabilizer to anything and everything we do - including our posture. It can also be said, those with good posture have strong core muscles.
The core has more than 15 muscles in it. It can be broken into 2 components as well: the deep stabilization system and the superficial movement system (this is just jargon of the anatomical/physiology junkies - if you are interested in what these two systems are. Just Google them - for the sake of the readers I will not go into detail) Just like other posts we have done we will not go into boring detail of the Latin derived names of each muscle in the core. Rather I would like to focus on three main area's/groups of the core: the rectus abdomins (front), abdominal oblique muscle group (sides) and thoracolumbar fascia. It is worth mentioning the core muscles are in fact - muscles! They need to rest just like any other muscle in the human body. It drives me absolutely mad when I see or hear about people training their Abs/Core daily and wonder why they are not gaining any traction in their core development. It is wise to train your core specifically two times a week. No more than three. We will provide a sound core workout at the bottom of this post.
Let's discuss the three main areas of the core...
Rectus abdominis muscle:
Also known as the , "abs" is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the human abdomen. Their are three and sometimes four bands of connective tissue called the tendinous intersections that run transversely (east/west) across the rectus abdominis, which separate into six or eight distinct muscle sections/bellies. The appearance of these sections are famously known as the six pack or eight pack. It is worth noting the difference between a 6-pack and 8-pack is purely genetics. The function of the rectus abdominis is an important postural muscle. It is responsible for flexing the lumbar spine. It also assists with breathing and plays and important role in respiration when forcefully exhaling. And it helps keep internal organs intact.
Abdominal oblique muscle group:
The oblique group has two muscles: external oblique and internal oblique. One could argue the transverse abdominis is in play here too. However, that is neither here nor there for our discussion. Focusing on the obliques - the external oblique is located on either side of the human body running vertically from the base of the stomach area up towards the pectoralis muscle area. The obliques function to pull the chest downwards and compress the abdominal cavity. It also has limited actions in both flexion and rotation of the vertebral column. One side of the obliques contracting can create lateral flexion.
This is not a muscle, rather, a deep investing membrane which covers the deep muscles of the back of the trunk. It is made up of three layers. Two spaces are formed between these three layers of the fascia. Between the anterior and middle layer lies the quadratus lumborum muscle. The erector spinae (which is talked about in detail in our back workout post) muscle is enclosed between the middle and posterior layers. Think of this fascia as a triangle located on our backs. With the base of the triangle at the top of our gluteus muscles (butt) and going up the back coming to a point in the thoracic region (mid-back) of our backs.
Hopefully, this gives you a little education on your core and what is really at work in your mid-section. And, at very least you now know there is more than just your, "abs". As I mentioned earlier when training your core. Please remember that they too are muscles and need a proper rest. It is recommended to train your core two times a week - no more than three. For a free full body training program with three separate routines, please take a look at our online store and scroll to the bottom of the page for the free training program. Note, how the core muscles are being trained and frequency of the training in that program. Below is a free core workout program. Enjoy!
*After a proper warm-up
- Ab-Machine 3 sets x 18-20 reps
- Leg-Lifts 3 sets x 45-60 seconds
- Oblique Twist 3 sets x 25-30 reps (w/Medicine ball)
- Alternating superman's 3 sets x 18-20 reps
- Stability ball plank 3 sets x 45-60 seconds
- Back extensions 3 sets x 25-30 reps
- Flutter/Scissor kicks 3 sets x 45-60 seconds
- Oblique plank 3 sets x 30-45 seconds (each side)
To add a little difficulty. Simply run this as a circuit. Meaning, execute one set of each exercise (in-order) with little to no rest between sets. Once you have completed one set of each exercise. Perform 2-3 minutes cardio of your choice focusing on keeping your heart rate at 70-75% of your Maximum heart rate (MHR). Then repeat this process till' you have completed 3 sets of each exercise. It is highly recommend to perform 20-25 minutes of cardio immediately after this core workout. Focus on maintaining your heart rate at 50-60% of the your MHR for this portion of the training.
If you have any questions about this training program or any other training program listed on this blog. Please feel free to contact Eric at: Performancetraining24@gmail.com
If you like this article and training and are interested in more please have a look at our online personal training that we offer for $49.99 for a 6-8 week program made specifically to you. With nutritional guidelines and 24/7 support. Please share this article with your friends or give us a star at the bottom!
Have a great day!
Tags: core core workout abs abdominal obliques rectus abdominis thoracolumbar
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