Core Training and Its Importance in Good Posture

[Updated on 1 June 2020] Most people feel having good posture is all about carrying themselves in a particular way. Standing up straight, not slouching, and ensuring your shoulders are always back. However, getting a good posture is more than just improving the way you stand and sit. It’s also about having a strong core that you can get by doing core training. Having a strong core is essential for good health and comfort. There’s a lot of physiological problems for something that most people will brush off with good manners.

Apart from your abdominal muscles, your core includes your hips and back that work hand in hand to stabilize and keep your spine in proper alignment. Individuals with weak cores will have a spine that lacks the right amount of support to give that natural perfect posture. This issue forces other muscles to strain to keep you erect, which leads to a slouching stance and a host of other problems. Some of these problems include:

CoreProblems

  • Lower back pain or injury
  • Digestion issues
  • Instability
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder tension
  • Chronic pain and joint problems
  • Fatigue
  • Restricted movement

What Is the Core, and Why Is It Important?

Let’s face it, when people think of the core muscles, they immediately think of abs or the six-pack. According to Harvard health, while the outer abdominal layer might look good, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a strong core.

PartsOfTheCoreYour core is a group of muscles that work to stabilize and control the spine and pelvis. They directly influence your legs and upper body stance. It’s important to understand that your core strength is less about physical power and more about the subtleties of maintaining the body in an ideal natural posture promoting ease of movement and unloading joints.

For the average human, this helps in maintaining their ability to get on and off the floor, being able to stand up from a chair, playing with children, being able to vacuum and rake, sit comfortably at a chair with zero pain. For athletes and sports enthusiasts, having a strong core promotes efficient movement, which improves performance and prevents injuries.

Achieving a strong core will even help prevent overuse injuries, helping boot ease of rehabilitation from injury and comfort of resilience.

Your Core is your Body Anchor

Think of it; your core is what holds down your entire body weight; this includes your head, spine, neck, and back. All these parts rely on your core strength. It is due to this reason that your spinal alignment is vital for your back health. Since your abs sit right in front of the spine, strengthening them will significantly help alleviate other muscles from overexerting themselves to support your spine.

Therefore, by strengthening your core muscles, your spine can rely less on the support from your back muscles. While having a toned tummy is a plus when it comes to core exercises, there’s also the bonus of having an improved back posture.

What happens when your Core Muscles Get Weak?

As you get older, you begin to develop degenerative changes, which are more apparent in the spine. Like most steady structures, your body’s bones and cartilage will start to wear over time. Often, we can completely control and eliminate the symptoms indulging in the appropriate core workouts. It’s important to note that the only times your postural muscles will work well is when your body is in its perfect natural alignment.

If by any chance, it is not, a vicious cycle will develop, where individuals may suffer weakness through injury or lack of use—having poor posture results in having inefficient core muscles. Having inefficient muscles means using more energy to get them to move. The paired muscles that are responsible for running each part of the body become imbalanced. Moreover, some of these muscles will end up working harder than others, becoming tighter, shorter while others become longer and weaker.

Picture this, a house with an unstable foundation is prone to collapse during a storm or heavy wind. Just like your house, your body needs a strong foundation to stabilize the body properly. Without this, individuals may begin to experience more fatigue or pain, and in some cases, have trouble with balance and coordination.

What are the Benefits of Good Posture?

Indulging in core exercise will get you good posture, but what benefits will this offer? For starters, having a good posture is essential for balance. When you stand up straight, your weight centers over your feet. The effect helps maintain a natural form while exercising, which results in more gains and fewer injuries.

Having the right balance pays even if you are not an athlete.

Walking down your neighborhood or a few blocks requires you to have the right balance. Just like getting up from a chair, toting packages, going down a flight of stairs or even looking behind you. It’s important to note that poor posture is not necessarily a bad habit. Some other reasons for poor posture include:

Inflexible muscles that reduce the range of motion.

Which is how far your joint can move in any particular direction. Your posture disrupts if you have tightened short hip muscles that tag your upper body, disrupting your posture. Having tighter chest muscles will force your shoulder forward.

Your Muscle strength affects your overall balance in several ways.

The core muscles, which include those found in the pelvis, back, and buttocks, form a robust central link between your lower and upper body—having weak muscles will encourage slumping, which in effect tip the body forward having created an off-balance. Having strong lower legs are essential in keeping you steady as you stand.

Helps reduce low back pain

Standing or sitting down in a slouched position for an extensive period puts a lot of strain on your lower back. To be specific, slouching exerts a lot of pressure on the posterior structures of your spine, such as the intervertebral discs, ligaments, muscles, and ligaments. Doing bridges will help engage and strengthen your abdominal and gluteal muscles. Which allows your body to rely on them instead of putting a lot of strain on your lower back.

Gets rid of Headaches

Yes, headaches, individuals with weak posture experience episodes of headaches from time to time. Poor posture causes tension headaches as a result of muscle tension in your lower back of your neck. Correcting your posture will help reduce muscle tension, relieving you of migraines. Regular head retraction exercise will help you strengthen weak neck muscles.

Good posture increases your energy levels

Having bones and joints in the correct alignment allows your muscles to work as they should. When muscles are working as required, individuals experience less fatigue and a burst of energy. It’s a situation where the muscles are not working as hard as they used to. Twisting your torso will help activate your side abs.

Reduces tension in your neck and shoulders

Having a forward head posture can put significant strain on your upper back, neck, and shoulders. Having proper alignment relieves stress on both your joints and ligaments, which are usually subject to chronic overuse. Performing neck stretches will help reduce the pressure and correct the tension.

Decreases the risk of abnormal wearing of your joint surfaces

Standing and sitting in a crooked manner like resting on one leg or one side of the body cause your hips to strain. Over time your joint will begin to wear out naturally. Having an excellent natural even posture will help avoid many problems. However, an uneven posture will lead to more pain and poor alignment, causing issues. You can strengthen your core as well as your lower back with simple hip flexor stretches.

Good posture boosts your lung capacity

Did you know that slouching affects your lung capacity? Slouching compresses the lungs. Sitting up straight or standing tall gives your lungs more space to expand and contract, improving your breathing. Pushing out your pecs can help increase your lung capacity giving you great posture.

Improved digestion and circulation

Most people who slouch and have poor posture do not realize that they are compressing their vital organs. Compressing these organs means that you will experience poor circulation, and these organs won’t work as intended. To have healthy blood flow, individuals need to attain a good posture avoiding positions that cramp up their circulation like crossing legs.

Improved scapular and core strength

To attain good posture, you need to have muscular effort. Having a good posture will ensure your core and upper back muscles remain active and engaged. Engaging your back muscles with an overhead arm raise exercise will help.

Fortunately, you can improve your posture with a few simple core exercises. Balance specific workouts address posture and balance problems. Increasing your flexibility and core strength will significantly help you improve your posture in a couple of weeks.

Core Exercise for Good Posture

You might not know this, but activities that strengthen your deep core muscles have a direct correlation to attaining a good posture. For example, if you slouch at your phone or computer, you will realize that trying to sit upright or stand tall will activate your core muscles. It’s proof that having a strong core helps develop good posture.

Your integral muscles work to stabilize your spine; they are also responsible for every single movement within your body. It is due to this reason that having a poor posture causes every back and muscle pain, abnormal spine, and well as deterioration of the joints.

The following are a few simple exercises you can do to strengthen your core, boosting your posture.

Planks

1 StaticPlankThese are quite simple to do but will take some time to get used to the routine. To effectively perform this core strength exercise, position your body in a standard push-up or plank position. Ensure your elbows are positioned under your shoulders. Lengthen your spine so that it is in a neutral position without rounding at the shoulders or arching your lower back. It’s important to note that planks are timed and not a rep exercise; therefore, the best way to perform this exercise is to hold your position until your form starts to break.

Supermans

2 superman-exerciseTo perform this exercise, you need to lie down with your face positioned towards the floor. Gently lift both your legs and arms off the ground. Now pause for a few seconds, and slowly relax. Now, lower your limbs back to your mat or ground. For an effective workout, perform two or three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.

Hip Abduction and Adduction

3 Hip-Abduction-and-AdductionFor this exercise, place a towel, paper plate, disc, or anything else that can slide underneath one foot in a standing position. Now, slowly slide the towel away from your body laterally, inhaling as you push it out. As you exhale, use your leg to draw the towel or paper plate underneath your body. For this exercise, you can do two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on either leg.

Ski Jumps

4 ski-exercisesFor this exercise, you need to stand in a good posture. Slowly allow your center of mass to shift over your toes. Make sure that you learn from your ankles and not from your hips. Now, slowly return to a standing position and then repeat. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 20 repetitions for this exercise.

Palloff Press

5 palloff-pressIf you have access to a cable machine, doing anti-rotational exercises will help develop your core stability. Start by kneeling next to the cable machine and grasp the handle with both of your hands. Then pull the handle away from the device, at the same level as your sternum. Now, slowly push the handle away from the sternum and then again back in. The main idea is to resist the tugging of the cable. Make each rep in a slow and controlled motion without rotation in the shoulders or hips. For this exercise, do a set of eight to twelve reps. Repeat as you face the opposite direction for a total of two to three sets.

The butterfly sit-up

6 TheButterflySit-upThe butterfly sit-up is an excellent way to strengthen your core for good posture. With this exercise, you do not have to do the hip flexor. It’s also quite easy to modify in both directions in case you want to make it easier or harder. To perform this exercise, lie down with your face up. Put the soles of your feet together with your knees bent out to the sides. Now reach your arms overhead. Using your core, roll up your body until you can sit upright. Reach forward and touch your toes. You have just done your first rep! Slowly lower your back to the starting position and continue to the next rep.

The Dead Bug

7 TheDeadBugThis exercise is a great core-strengthening workout to connect your core and mind. It’s one of the few ab exercises where you will not feel any burning sensation. It’s ideal for creating deep core muscle strength. To perform this workout, lie down with your face up. Make sure your hands are extended towards the ceiling with your legs in a tabletop position. This position is where your knees are bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips.

This is the starting position. From here, slowly extend your right leg out straight, while you simultaneously drop your left arm overhead. Make sure both your arms and legs are a few inches from the floor, squeeze your glutes, and keep your core engaged during the workout with your lower back pressed into the ground. Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position, then repeat the exercise on the other side – extending your left leg and right arm.

Half-Kneeling Woodchop

This workout is quite useful since it requires you to work in a transverse plane, which not many people train. This workout is quite functional as well, helping work your obliques, shoulders, transverse abdominals, and more. To perform this workout, start on your knees, stepping one leg a few feet in front of the other with your foot flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold a light to medium dumbbell by the knee, which is on the floor. Grasp onto both of the ends of the weight.

This is the starting position. Bring the weight diagonally towards your ceiling on the opposite side of your body, ensuring that you twist your abs. Make sure to keep your hips facing forward. Only your core and muscles need to be rotating. Bring your weight back down to the starting position. You must do all the reps on one side, and then repeat on the other side.

Body Saw

The body saw is a great exercise to build both your core strength and stability. For the body saw exercise, place your toes on a set of towels or gliders. Get into a plank position with your forearms placed on the ground. Your elbows need to be directly under your shoulders. Position your hands so that they are facing forward, your arms are parallel, and your legs are extending behind. Tuck your tail bone engaging your buttocks, core, and quads.

This is the starting position. Now, slowly push with your forearms and elbows to slide the gliders and or towels back towards the wall behind. Make sure you move forward as far as you can without losing your core engagement. Avoid sagging your hips. Then slowly pull with your arms and elbows to get you back to the starting position.

 

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