What is Core Conditioning? (with pictures)

B. Miller
B. Miller
The muscles of the lower back are part of the body's core.
The muscles of the lower back are part of the body's core.

Core conditioning is the act of strengthening the muscles of the abdominals and torso. This type of work can tone and condition the abs, improve lower back pain, and help the body to move properly both in exercise and everyday movement. Core conditioning goes far beyond sit-ups or crunches, and instead engages the muscles of the abdominals, both in the front and along the sides of the body, as well as the muscles around the shoulders, pelvis, and along the spinal column.

Doing push-ups may help strengthen the core back and ab muscles.
Doing push-ups may help strengthen the core back and ab muscles.

The theory behind core conditioning states that when the muscles of the core are strong and stable, they are more easily able to transfer energy to the extremities. This is beneficial for everyone, because injuries to the back often occur when the core muscles are weak. For instance, it is easy to pull a back muscle by bending incorrectly, lifting something that is too heavy, or extending the arms too far out in front of the body when trying to reach for something. Strong core muscles help to prevent these types of injuries. Because coordination is also improved, core muscles that are well conditioned can help create more controlled body movements, preventing falls.

Stay hydrated when exercising.
Stay hydrated when exercising.

Sit-ups and crunches are the most basic type of conditioning exercises. Other exercise programs focus on strengthening the core as well, and these include yoga, Pilates, medicine ball workouts, and exercises that take place on a balance ball or balance board. The core can be strengthened by performing simple exercises as well, such as push-ups, leg lifts, squats, and side plank moves, just to name a few. Athletes frequently use core conditioning as part of their training programs.

Core exercises focus on muscular endurance rather than power.
Core exercises focus on muscular endurance rather than power.

There are many gyms that offer core conditioning classes as part of their repertoires, or one might choose to work with an individual trainer. In addition, it is fairly simple to create an effective core training program independently. As when performing any exercise, remember to use controlled movements to prevent injury, warm up before exercising, and cool down when finished, and stay hydrated.

The core can be strengthened by performing simple exercises, such as leg lifts.
The core can be strengthened by performing simple exercises, such as leg lifts.

Core conditioning should be included as part of a combination of aerobic and strength training workouts. The combination will work the entire body, helping to tone muscles, increase strength, improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance, and help with weight loss or weight maintenance. Most experts recommend exercising approximately five days per week to get the most benefits, while still allowing the muscles time to rest and recover.

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Discussion Comments

Bhutan

@Suntan12 -I know that core strengthening exercises like Pilates can be hard but it is very effective. It is what ballerinas use to get fit and they have nice long legs and a long torso that makes them really appear leaner and slimmer.

Also as you get older, you may want to switch to something like this instead of jogging because people that jog for a long time usually start to develop injuries in their knees that makes it hard to continue.

This type of core body workout makes you stronger over time and keeps you looking trim as well. The nice thing is that you can do these exercises at home because they have become so popular.

suntan12

I think that a core body workout really helps your posture and support your back better. I tried to do some core conditioning Pilates and it was hard. It looks easy on the DVD but when you actually do the exercises at home it is another story.

I know that yoga is hard for me too because I am not that flexible. People swear by it so I keep doing these core strengthening exercises but I do find regular cardio exercises easier.

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    • The muscles of the lower back are part of the body's core.
      The muscles of the lower back are part of the body's core.
    • Doing push-ups may help strengthen the core back and ab muscles.
      Doing push-ups may help strengthen the core back and ab muscles.
    • Stay hydrated when exercising.
      Stay hydrated when exercising.
    • Core exercises focus on muscular endurance rather than power.
      Core exercises focus on muscular endurance rather than power.
    • The core can be strengthened by performing simple exercises, such as leg lifts.
      The core can be strengthened by performing simple exercises, such as leg lifts.