Welcome back to our back to basics series. In our last article, we covered the importance of good posture and how it can affect us both in the studio and in our day to day lives. One important aspect of our posture is how we hold our core. Today, let’s refresh ourselves on the concept of core stre??ngth – what we’re talking about when we talk about our core, how our core affects us in our workouts, and how we can focus on building our core strength in our yoga and fitness classes.
What is our core?
When we talk about our core, you likely have some idea what area of the body we’re talking about, but to ensure we’re not missing any integral aspects of our core training lets go over what specifically our core covers. Our core includes our lower back, hips, stomach, and pelvis as defined by the Mayo Clinic. The muscles in our core include our abs, the pelvic floor, the diaphragm, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, multifidus, and the erector spinae. When we talk about using or engaging our core, we’re talking about engaging these muscles.
How our core affect our workouts
Core strength and engagement is a significant component of any workout routine. You can probably imagine why. When you think about your preferred type of workout, it’s likely hard to imagine successfully completing this workout without engaging any of the muscles that build up the core. Core strength doesn’t only impact exercises directly connected to our core, but also many other workouts. For example, arm and leg function is affected by our core strength. It also helps build stability and balance.
Strengthening our cores benefits our bodies, and thus it benefits our workouts. When we’ve got a strong core, it helps us improve our flexibility, protect our lower back stability, and improve our workout form. According to CNET, there’s even a correlation between core strength and workout performance. So whether or not your workout goals are core related, you may find yourself getting closer to them if you take some time to focus on strengthening your core.
How we strengthen our core
As we discussed earlier, our core is made up of a lot of muscles and includes a large part of our body. When we focus on strengthening our core, we want to find workout options that include this whole span of muscles. If you’re looking for a class option that targets your core specifically, Hot Core-lates is a great place to start, where we focus on core strength and stability amidst a mid-paced Pilates style class. Alternatively, Hot Yoga & Core will mix up your core work with some Vinyasa Flows or Hot Power Core will combine Pilates-style core work with Athletics-style yoga.
While these classes are just a few of our options of classes that will take the time to tune your focus into your core strength specifically, because of our core’s all encompassing connection to our body and our workouts, you can also set your own intention to work on core strength in virtually any class. If you want to try to focus on your core while sticking to your favorite flow, why not try some poses that focus on core strength, such as boat pose or downward facing dog? Mixing up your class schedule might allow you to focus on your core strength in a myriad of different ways. You can take some classes focusing specifically on your core and some where you work more on connecting this focus with the rest of your body. This way, you’ll be giving yourself time to make sure you’re engaging your core as fully as possible and that you can bring this engagement and core strength with you into your everyday life.
Next time you step into the studio, why not take some time to focus on your core strength? Feel free to ask your instructor for more information about engaging your core, and find the class that fits best with your schedule here.