Core strength is essential from protecting our organs to maintaining our posture. So when I get asked about my training regime and I don’t specify any core specific training I am often met with confusion. But here’s why..
The large majority of my training is weight lifting in some shape or form. I have always been a huge advocate of mastering good form before adding weight to avoid injury. If carried out correctly, all exercises require an engaged core (by this I mean the tensing of your stomach as if you are about to be punched).
There are 5 types of core exercises; flexion, extension, rotation, anti-rotation and static. During my lifting programme I ensure there are examples each of these movements, meaning that specific core-focused training is not essential. Take static for example, this is where the tension in your core is used to maintain good posture whilst performing such lifts as an overhead press or an upright row. Or rotation (a move many people turn to the Russian Twist to achieve) can be carried out by performing a WoodChop.
By incorporating each of these movements into my lifting, my core is exercised without it being isolated.
When is core training essential?
There are two instances when I would suggest core-focused training is essential - During pregnancy and postnatally.
During pregnancy your stomach muscles separate to allow room for the baby to grow, significantly weakening your core. It is important to keep your core muscles engaged during this period so that the muscle-mind connection is not broken and core training will be easier once your baby has been born.
Postnatally, it can take a period of time for your stomach muscles to knit back together (which is why it can be extremely dangerous to do sit ups after having a baby). During this time, however, it is still essential to train your core to keep that mind-muscle connection active. As talked about above, my core strength comes for a lifting, but due to the presence of a hormone called relaxin, postnatal women (and I by this I mean 6 months birth/breast feeding) should avoid doing certain loaded lifts. Therefore, until this training can be resumed, it is a good idea to partake in some form of core training to avoid losing your core strength.
It is important that training during these two period is carried out properly and prescribed by a qualified professional. So if you have any concerns or queries, feel free to get in touch.