Tagged as: Fitness

Do I Need to Train my Core? What Exercises are Best?

Do I need to Train my Core? 

Core Exercise

Planking on a fitness ball which is unstable can help improve your core stability!

It is impossible to step into a Vancouver personal training gym without hearing a trainer talk about the core! Core exercise has been a hot topic in the health and fitness industry for many years. So which core exercises are best and why is it so important!? 

Improving your core strength will not only help you appear leaner by tightening and flattening your stomach, but vastly improve your overall fitness level. Having a strong and functional core will help prevent injuries, ease low back pain, improve posture and positively impact your athletic performance – think better golf swing or a faster 5 km run time! 

So what exactly is your core? Many people still confuse the core with the abs. The core refers to the Lumbo-Pelvic Hip Complex. Wow! Now that’s a mouthful! Let us explain… this complex refers to the muscles of the hips, lower back, the glutes, pelvic floor and most importantly: The Transversus Abdominis. This is the deepest layer of the inner abdominal muscles. It wraps around your torso like a corset. One of the main jobs of the Transverse Abdominis is to stabilize your spine.

You can think of your core (or you can call it the lumbo-pelvic hip region if you’re feeling fancy!) like a box around your torso. This box acts like the foundation for the rest of your body. Much like a foundation for a house. The core muscles work to stabilize the center of the body so that the arms and legs have a stable platform to work from. 

The abs are the superficial “six pack” muscles that lie in the front of your stomach. 

It is known fact that having a strong and functional core is more important than having bigger arm and legs muscles. So why exactly? 

Injury Prevention: 

The core plays key role in everyday tasks. Before you pick a toddler up off the floor or carry groceries in from the car your core should be engaging first to stabilize your spine. When lifting weights in the gym you should have a strong core for the same reason. Core strength here will help you lift the weights with proper form and technique. Also avoid compensation from the wrong muscles and create exceptional movement patterns. 

Improved Athletic Performance: 

Developing your core strength and stability can immensely maximize your power, speed, coordination, balance, agility and overall functional fitness.

A 2009 study from the official research journal of The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) found just that! They studied two groups of runners. One group underwent 6 weeks of core specific training, made up of 5 core exercises done 4 times a week. The other group did not strength train the core at all. The study concluded that people who underwent 6 weeks of core training considerably improved their 5000 meter run time than those who did not strength train the core. 

During an athletic feat, actively tightening your core muscles will improve the transfer of power to your extremities. Think about this next time you swing a golf club or when you hit the ski hill for the first time this winter!

Improved Posture and Back Pain:

Having poor posture and spending too much time in a seated position both can be risks factors for back pain. The core muscles work to hold your spine and pelvis in place, helping you stand and sit up straight. Also if the muscles surrounding your spine are strong, the vertebrae and discs of the spine will be better supported.  Better functional movement in daily tasks, good posture and long term pain relief are often very welcomed results of having a stronger abdominal wall. We call that a win-win! 

What Core Exercises are Best? 

So as you can see training your core is highly important and key in creating the strongest, healthiest and most athletic version of yourself! So what kind of core exercises are best? Forget mundane crunches and sit-ups! When training the core keep functional exercise in mind. Perform core specific exercises in a wide variety of standing, kneeling, half-kneeling and plank positions. The best core exercises will challenge your core stability, rotation and anti-rotation. The Cable Wood Chop exercise for rotation, the “Pallof Press” for anti-rotation and the ever famous plank for core stability are excellent choices.  Don’t forget to hold your body in one straight line when you’re planking! A personal trainer can determine which exercises are optimal for you.  They will tailor a program to help you crush those core and fitness goals! Now let’s get a sweat on! 

 

Do I need a personal trainer?

TOP 5 REASONS TO GET A PERSONAL TRAINER:

  • PERSONAL TIME CONSTRAINTS
  • COMMITMENT
  • RESULTS 
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • MOTIVATION

All around Vancouver there are fit people running, biking, swimming, kayaking and just being the most dang fit city in North America!  Look around, whether it is the beach-side path in Kitsilano or across the water in the mountains of the North Shore, people are making the effort to stay healthy.  We are one of the most dedicated cities when it comes to fitness! So why would anyone in this overly-caffeinated, health-conscious town need a personal trainer? Time constraints, commitment, results and even an improved ability to do our favourite fitness pastimes!  And how about the knowledge base and motivation that a fitness professional brings to your hour of sweat?  Let’s cover all these reasons below and show you why you need to sign up with a trainer today.

           TIME CONSTRAINTS:

           People in Vancouver are busy!  The most fit city is also the most expensive… we need to pay to play.  So even if we get out on the weekend to climb mountains, cycle to Horseshoe Bay or get in a round of golf, our work/life schedules during the week make things terribly hectic.  Fitting in fitness can be hard.  With a personal trainer you get serious results for your time!  Once you have an assessment and a plan with your fitness coach, your workouts are streamlined.  The time you would personally spend making a plan for yourself is done, the areas of weakness are balanced during your workout, and your fitness goals are your coach’s focus!  Your personal trainer makes things easy (and hard) at the same time.

           COMMITMENT TO BEING FIT:

           Because all of us are so busy in Vancouver it can make our ongoing commitment to health and wellness irregular.  A personal trainer will give you a set, committed fitness time every week.  This is a set time in your schedule and build your life around it!  How many people do we know with gym memberships to places like Steve Nash Fitness facility that don’t use them on a regular basis?  Without that set exercise program, and set time with your trainer, your chances are low of getting the regular exercise you need. With a trainer you have to show up to your session… or else we call you!

           RESULTS:

           Are you looking to improve your triathlon time?  A trainer can help you strengthen your weaknesses and improve your result.  What about rehabbing an injury? Keep yourself on track by hiring a Kinesiologist to progress you through the injury.  Maybe you are just looking for general fitness, to lose weight, gain some cardio or weight strength… the best way to do this is to hire a professional fitness coach!  This is the person who will make you do the appropriate exercises for you!  Often we focus on the gym routines that we enjoy; a personal trainer will push your comfort zones and show you all types of exercise!  This is what will exceed your limits and make you progress!  The exercises you may not like could be the ones you need; your personal trainer will make you do them!  All of your favourite exercise past-times get easier when your training sessions are being directed by a coach because that is their job… make your life hard in the gym to make it easier outside the gym!!  

        KNOWLEDGE:

Your personal trainer will have a minimum of a training certification, and more than likely many more training specialties under their belt.  Whether it is a cardio exercise class or a weightlifting course they have taken, all of us fitness experts have to maintain our classroom knowledge year after year.  It is actually important for personal trainers to maintain their mental health and training game as they continue through their career. There are many benefits of this to you!  Instead of you personally trying to keep up with all the latest fitness trends and knowledge, your coach will do that for you… keeping your workouts fresh and fun!  

       MOTIVATION:

We all have those days where we don’t want to leave our bed and we definitely don’t want to workout; that is what your trainer is for!  Your upbeat fitness professional will take you through the good days and the down days.  When you walk out of your fitness facility after your training hour you will be feeling refreshed and energized… ready to face the day!  Not all trainers are ‘bounce off the walls’ motivating, that can be intimidating, but, again, they should be energizing enough to pick you up on your slower days.   

           As a gym owner you think it would be easy for me to get a workout in my day, but it’s not.  There is so much to do and get distracted by… so I have TWO trainers. Each one hits up a different style with me and we have progressed to a point where I enjoy the body I am seeing in the mirror once again.  Since committing to twice a week personal training I have seen amazing results, and I am a trainer myself!

How To: Ring Muscle Up

Curious what the proper form looks like during a Ring Muscle Up? Jamiel shows us his technique! Now that is impressive… #FocusFriday #FlexFriday