Chances are you’ve heard, seen or read stories about people’s quest to work on their “core.” That’s good, because core training should be a crucial component of anyone’s exercise routine, regardless of his or her fitness level. Why? To put it simply, if you have a weak and unstable core and you don’t do anything to make it stronger, your body can’t move the way it’s supposed to. That’s one of the easiest ways to put yourself at increased risk for injury.
So, what exactly is the core? It’s the part of the body made up of the lumbo-pelvic-hip-complex, thoracic spine and cervical spine. This region of the body is where all movement begins and where we find our center of gravity. The muscles in the core are broken into two categories: the stabilization system and the movement system. The important thing to keep in mind is that if the stabilization system doesn’t work properly, then your body will make compensations to move, and these compensations can ultimately lead to injury. Here’s an example: you could have strong “abs” (rectus abdominus), external obliques and erector spinae, but weak stabilizing muscles in your lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. Without proper stabilization, extra stress is placed on your vertebrae and this can lead to low back pain and possible injury.
The bottom line is you should not neglect your core. One popular exercise for core training is the quadruped. It’s a great activation exercise for the transversus abdominus, which is part of the stabilization system of the core. Below, you can check out a video where I help Brent Brookbush, President of B2C Fitness and author of “Fitness or Fiction: The Truth About Diet and Exercise,” illustrate the correct form and progression techniques for a quadruped. Brent’s videos are geared toward other fitness pros, but the information and illustration are a great way to get anyone started on this effective exercise. Remember, core training is an essential part of any exercise routine in order to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!