What is Core Strength Training?

Jacob Queen

Core strength training exercises are muscle-building routines designed to increase the power of muscles in a person's torso. This includes crucial abdominal muscles, along with several muscles in the back. Fitness routines focusing on these muscles are often considered an important part of a balanced workout regimen. This kind of training has become much more popular over the years among mainstream fitness experts, but it's generally been highly regarded among athletes for a longer period of time. Core strength training can have many benefits for the average person, and it can even be therapeutic in certain situations.

Sit-ups are a good workout for the midsection.
Sit-ups are a good workout for the midsection.

The muscles in the torso are crucial for stabilizing the whole body. A person will generally use her core muscles in nearly every action she performs, even when she doesn't realize she is using them. By developing their torso muscles with core strength training, people gain improved balance, lessened risk of injury, and better posture. It can also greatly improve performance in sporting activities, and some people even report that it gives them more overall energy.

Standup paddleboards strengthen the core as paddlers balance on the board.
Standup paddleboards strengthen the core as paddlers balance on the board.

Injuries can turn core strength training into a major part of therapy. Some experts believe that a common cause of back injury is a weak core. For example, if a person has weakened stomach muscles, the muscles in the back will be doing more work maintaining posture, and that can eventually lead to an injury. When a person suffers a back injury, core strength training exercises are often prescribed by doctors as a primary method of treatment.

Common core exercises that work the abdominal muscles include sit-ups and crunches. Some other common core strength exercises include the bridge and several abdominal press maneuvers. The bridge is especially useful because it works a large number of muscles at once. Most doctors recommend performing core exercises about three times per week, with rest days in between. Strength training routines put a heavy strain on muscles, and rest periods give them time to recover, which helps speed up strength gains.

One way to exercise the core is to perform weight-based exercises while standing and let the core help maintain good posture. For example, when performing standing dumbbell routines, the core is working along with the arms. Some fitness experts emphasize this kind of core training, because it’s more in line with normal day-to-day core muscle activity and may do a better job preparing the muscles for normal use.

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