2013-04-26 / Sports

Ken and Jen’s Fitness Forum

By Jen Font de Bon and Ken Pena

We’re Jen Font de Bon & Kenny Peña, certified trainers, spinning instructors and nutrition nuts from Suncycle Studios. Our goal is to help people reach theirs. We promote physical, mental and emotional health, aiding others in finding and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

You’ve heard about the importance of a strong core, time and time again. But what does that really mean? Here you’ll discover what the core is, why it’s so important, and things you can do to make it stronger.

What is the Core?

The core is composed of the muscles in the abdominals, sides, back, and hips. Think of the core as the body’s center of gravity. It’s what holds everything together and helps us function properly. If the core is strong and flexible, the rest of the body can be strong and flexible.

What are Signs of a Weak Core?

Signs of a weak core include poor posture, lower back pain, muscle injury, overall weakness and low energy. The core is activated during all types of movement, so if it isn’t strong, actions will be more difficult and injury, more common.

How Do I Strengthen my Core?

Building a strong core takes time and consistency, and should be a fundamental part of your exercise program. First, partake in regular cardio exercise. Indoor cycling, for example, is extremely aerobic and engages your core throughout the entire workout because of the position you take on the bike.

Next, focus on strength moves that incorporate multiple muscle groups at the same time. For example, if you’re just starting off, do your biceps curls balancing on one leg, alternating sides between each set. If you’re more advanced, integrate moves such as a plié squat to triceps extension.

This type of exercise forces you to use your core more than you would performing each move individually. Also, instead of always working abdominals on your back, mix it up. Try plank variations, standing pikes, and supermans to activate your entire midsection.

Finally, if you spend a lot of time sitting, make an effort to sit up tall and push your shoulders back and down. You might also consider ditching the desk chair and replacing it with a stability ball (be sure to choose the right size for your height; your knees should comfortably form a 90-degree angle).

What are some Benefits of a Strong Core?

The benefits of a strong core go way beyond looking good in a bathing suit, although that’s not a bad added advantage! Some of the many perks include better posture, improved balance and stability, reduced back and body pain, less risk for injury, prevention against the aches of getting old and improved athletic performance. It also makes it easier to perform physical activities and helps you reach your fitness goals.

Feel free to contact us for information about the exercises described in this article.

Questions, comments? E-mail us @ admin@suncyclestudios.com, call 718-318- 3410, or stop by Suncycle Studios at 137 Beach 116th Street to talk in person.

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