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How to Improve Your Core Strength

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By Mikkie Mills

Performing tons of sit-ups won't automatically lead to a super-lean stomach, but it can chart a path towards enhanced core strength. People with intermediate levels of skill at exercising understand the importance of solid core strength. To new workout enthusiasts, core strength development sometimes seems mysterious. Powerful arms, shoulders, and legs make sense to people. What is the value of a strong core, though? The core muscles are located in the center of the body, which is why they are called "core" muscles. The core may be dubbed the "epicenter" of strength in the body.

A strong core definitely adds a sense of symmetry to the body's development of strength. Working the core should become part of any serious fitness enthusiast's routine. A great variety of core exercises exist making it easier to incorporate the exercises into any workout routine. The secret to this path to core strength enhancement entails mostly following proven ways to target the necessary muscles.

Two Basic Core Exercises
Abdominal exercises are not the only core exercises performed, but they maintain a level of importance. Among the most valuable of the abdominal core, exercises would be the basic crunch. Regularly performing crunches definitely would support core strength. Also helpful is the core-tightening exercise known as a plank. Planks require maintaining a pushup position, but with a major difference. Weight rests on the forearms instead of the palms. The body’s form during a plank must be perfect and held for a set number of seconds to really hit those core muscles.

As strength increases, the number of crunch repetitions and time the plank is held both may be increased. Avoid the mistake of rushing into increasing reps and durations. This would be the case with these two exercises and all others. Doing so increases the chance of pulling a muscle or causing another injury.

Examine the Major Compound Exercises
The traditional compound strength-building weightlifting exercises should never be ignored when attempting to maximize the core. The bench press, deadlift, squat, and shoulder press are known for their ability to greatly enhance upper and lower body muscles. The value of these exercises to the core may be overlooked. Of course, all these muscles eventually connect to the core. So, they should be integrated into any serious core training workout routine.

Extra care does need to go into the performance of these exercises. Overloading too much weight, not using proper form, and executing the lifts without proper supervision could prove problematic to say the least. Consider it advisable to learn the basics of the right performance of these exercises from a qualified trainer. Learning bodyweight versions of the exercises as well would be beneficial, too. Learn how to do a pull up, a push-up, and many variations of bodyweight squats to further expand home or gym core workouts.

Try Out Pilates
Visiting the local Pilates fitness studios might be a good plan for someone hoping to strengthen the core. Pilates focuses heavily on core strength, and numerous Pilates exercises can greatly help tightening and enhancing the core muscles. Pilates workouts may be among the most accessible of all core exercise programs since low-intensity approaches are stressed.

Never Dismiss Diet
Diet always plays a role in the development of any muscles. Protein intake helps with the repair and maintenance of muscles. While core muscles aren't bulky, they are still muscles. Protein intake should help those muscles. Protein alone, however, won't be enough. A balanced diet is necessary.

Eating overall nutritious diet benefits the body in a number of ways. Anyone taking part in a serious exercise program should be eating leafy green vegetables, healthy fruits, whole grains, and other choices that help the body in a number of ways. While diet doesn't directly build up core strength, the supporting role a good diet presents truly should not be ignored.

About Mikkie Mills: “I’m a Chicago native who loves to share her expertise about personal development and growth. When I’m not writing, I’m chasing the little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.” More articles by Mikkie
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