Core Training

May 15, 2009 | Fitness, May 2009

Working the center

by Shannon Sutton

By now I’m sure we are all familiar with the term “core.”  Like an apple core, or the earth’s core, it is the body’s center or midsection, and is the origination of all movement.  All too often we focus on the obvious muscle groups such as glutes (for that firm, round backside) or triceps (to tighten up that arm flab), but as a personal trainer and fitness coach, my advice is to incorporate the instability factor and work your core and other muscle groups simultaneously.

One simple way to emphasize core training within your resistance routine is to omit the stability of sitting or lying on a bench and opt for an E-ball. This forces your core muscles to engage in order to maintain balance which in turn increases caloric expenditure, strengthens your midsection and  whittles your waist down to size more quickly!  Makes sense, doesn’t it?

The following are just a few examples of exercises that help the core while working other muscle groups:

Bicep curls:  Have a seat on a properly sized ball (hips and knees should be at 90 degree angles, shoulders over hips and knees over heels) and perform your bicep curls.  Be sure to draw your abs in tight and practice good posture.

Triceps:  Lie back with head and shoulders resting on the ball; again, joints stacked. Raise dumbbells directly over your shoulders with arms parallel and slowly bend elbows to 90 degrees, hold for a count and return to starting position.

Chest flies:  Begin in the same position as the triceps exercise with dumbbells raised directly over your shoulders and slowly open your arms lowering the weight to shoulder level, hold and return to starting position.

Try to focus on drawing your navel in and holding a really tight core while performing these and other exercises. The E-ball can be used in just about all of your exercises, just get creative and have fun with it!

Shannon Sutton is an independent certified personal trainer. Her certifications include ISSA, NASM, APEX and Reebok. She has invested years in helping individuals reach their health, fitness and wellness goals. Contact her at (210) 722-3962.

South Texas Fitness & Health