The press was stunned. What kind of strange exercises were the German footballers doing to prepare for the 2006 World Cup at home? They did weird contortions, worked with resistance bands, and tried to keep their balance on unstable ground. In the meantime, core training has become an integral part of every good training program.
Our core consists of four muscle groups
The core includes four muscle groups: The flexors, consisting of the straight and oblique abdominal muscles. The extensors, which include the entire spinal musculature. The lateral flexors with the lumbar muscles and smaller parts of the abdominal muscles and the rotators with parts of the abdominal muscles and the deep muscles around the spine. These muscles have two functions that are crucial for sport, fitness, and health: They protect the spine from occurring loads and transmit the occurring forces. Important to know: If the core muscles are too weak, the forces fizzle out.
That's why you need a strong core
The core includes four muscle groups: The flexors, consisting of the straight and oblique abdominal muscles. The extensors, which include the entire spinal musculature. The lateral flexors with the lumbar muscles and smaller parts of the abdominal muscles and the rotators with parts of the abdominal muscles and the deep muscles around the spine. These muscles have two functions that are crucial for sport, fitness, and health: They protect the spine from occurring loads and transmit the occurring forces. Important to know: If the core muscles are too weak, the powers fizzle out. Anyone who does fitness regularly cannot realize their full potential without appropriately well-trained core muscles. Even worse: with many exercises, the knees suffer because an untrained core is only insufficiently able to compensate for the forces that occur. In a so-called meta-analysis - that is, the evaluation of several relevant studies on the subject - it was shown that a strong core positively influences the body's entire musculature.
The special role of the deep muscles
The deep muscles play a vital role in this. These are the approximately 150 muscles that always balance our body. The unique thing about this is that we don't even notice it. This is because they are so-called autochthonous muscles, i.e., muscles that are independent of the will. These muscles, which are usually relatively small and short, always work as a duo: while one muscle strand pulls, its counterpart gives way and holds - and vice versa. However, this complicated system can only function optimally if all muscle players are strong and equally strong. Otherwise, only the strong muscles act, and the weak ones disengage. The logical consequence is back pain., but that is not all because the autochthonous musculature is also called the deep stabilizer. Because that's exactly what it does: it stabilizes the joints.
Core training covers three areas
Reasons enough to take a closer look at core training: The four movements of the trunk that are near related to core training include:
- the flexion
- the extension
- the lateral flexion
- the rotation
The core muscles' training then includes three areas: You can train core muscles in isolation or so-called anti-exercises. These are counter-movements. There are also exercises in which the core must be stabilized while the shoulder and/or hip is moved. And you can do unilateral and bilateral exercises. unilaterale und bilaterale Übungen.
The best exercises for a strong core
Now you probably want to know how this can look in practice: A straightforward but effective exercise is standing on one leg. Beginners start on a firm surface. It becomes a little more complicated when you close your eyes and perform movements with the lifted leg. A real challenge is to remain standing on one leg while a training partner tries to push you over very carefully. Standing on one leg on an unstable surface has an excellent training effect. Tip: Have a training partner throw you a ball every now and then. If you are already well trained, you can even use a medicine ball.
Planks in all variations
Planks are also a great core workout. You stretch out on the floor, put your elbows and feet up and lift your body so that it forms a straight line. Many variations are possible from this position. You can alternately lift your feet or bring them to the side. You can push yourself up into the push-up position and return to the elbow's bottom or bend the knees sideways. Side planks, i.e., lateral forearm support, are even more challenging. Here, too, it is then possible to spread one leg.
Weitere Übungen für einen starken Core
Side bend with dumbbells Stand upright, take a dumbbell in one hand, stabilise your hips and then bend to the side. Do 2 or 3 times 12 repetitions on both sides.
Farmer's walk Grab two heavy dumbbells, kettlebells, or other weights that are easy to carry, hold them in your right and left hands, and walk straight ahead in a coordinated manner for about ten meters. Try to keep your upper body as still as possible. Repeat three times.
Workout with a medicine ball Take a medicine ball, grasp it with both hands and stand shoulder-width apart. Then swing the ball up and down to the right and left with slightly bent arms. After 15 repetitions change sides and move the ball from the top left and bottom right.