I always thought I had amazing core strength and stabilization, after all I was a gymnast! Well that thought was quickly erased after, not one, but two chiropractors told me that I have hardly any core stabilization. Um, Say what!!?
Let me first start by saying that just because you work your core (mainly abs) you may not necessarily be working the stabilizers and strengthening that ability. I work abs after every lift session in the gym, 6 times a week and I do no fewer than 200 reps.
“Typically, the core is associated with the body’s center of gravity, if a person has greater core stability, they have a greater level of control over the position and movement of their body. In addition, it is the lumbar spine that is primarily responsible for posture and stability thus providing the strength needed for the stability especially utilized in dynamic sports.”
Which leads into why I have such a major focus on core stabilization in my training now. I have found that core stabilization has been the fix for my lower back problems. Yes, I have a degenerative and bulging disc, however, the pain in my lower back has almost completely diminished by just tweaking my core workouts.
“It is commonly believed that core stability is essential for the maintenance of an upright posture and especially for movements and lifts that require extra effort such as lifting a heavy weight from the ground to a table. Without core stability the lower back is not supported from inside and can be injured by strain caused by the exercise. It is also believed that insufficient core stability can result in lower back pain and lower limb injuries.”
After doing some research on core stability, I started realizing that the exercises that I needed to start incorporating were ones that I never really understood why people did them. (Knock that pride back even further!) A Swiss ball and your body weight are your best friends to achieve this! Here are a couple of exercises to incorporate into your ab routine:
- Swiss ball crunches – I also like to switch this up and put my feet on the ball, and do a regular crunch from the floor – I usually will do 3 sets of 20
- Seated leg tucks
- Swiss ball pull-ins – make sure you focus on using your abs, otherwise this is a lovely hip flexor workout!
- Ab rollouts – I grabbed this photo that is using a Swiss ball, but you can also use a barbell, or an ab roller to do these as well
These are just a couple of exercises you can incorporate, I reference www.bodybuilding.com a lot when I am stuck, have questions, or need to expand my knowledge. They have this article on core stabilization that is awesome to reference for more exercises to incorporate!