The core is a common “problem spot” for people of all ages. If you don't have a flat stomach, don't feel bad! Most people don't have a six-pack. In fact, the majority of people have a considerable amount of fat along their stomach and hips. Though such fat is prevalent, it is extremely unhealthy. Fat along the midsection often leads to an array of health problems. If your core is laden with fat, it is time to turn this weak spot into a strength. Even those who have a flat stomach can benefit from strengthening their core. Here's how to do it.
Core Training Means More than Crunches and/or Sit-ups
Before we dig into the best strength training equipment for the core, it is important to accurately define the core. The body's core is more than the stomach. Think of your core as everything between your arms and legs. This means the core includes the stomach as well as the hips, glutes, scapula and pelvic floor. These core muscles generate the power necessary to carry out movements. Crunches and sit-ups will help bolster your stomach muscles and trim stomach fat yet they will not work the entire core. Let's take a look at some of the best strength training equipment and exercises for the entire core.
Take Advantage of the Best Strength Training Equipment
One of the best ways to strengthen your core is to use your gym's best strength training equipment. Core training equipment from exercise bands to ab coasters, incline benches and stability balls will help strengthen your midsection. In particular, adjustable sit-up benches are some of the best strength training equipment around. These benches can be adjusted to alter the board's angle to change the resistance. Adjustable sit-up benches permit an array of exercises from traditional sit-ups to twists, crunches, leg raises and beyond.
Roman chairs allow for the training of the lower back that ultimately serves to slim the waistline. A strong lower back will also help you perform other exercises to boot. Work your lower back with a Roman chair and you will find that you aren't plagued by frequent back pain, poor posture and lower body injuries.
Pull-up bars build core strength as well as upper body strength. Engage in hanging knee and leg raises to achieve a flat stomach.
Most people don't think the exercise ball is one of the best strength training equipment tools. However, such a ball can be used for crunches, sit-ups and other motions in a safe and efficient manner.
Give an ab wheel a try and you will find it is among the best strength training equipment. It works the core as well as the back, arms and shoulders. The wheel stimulates muscles while you roll in and out, making constant use of the upper and lower abs along with numerous other parts of the body.
Core Workout Routine
The typical core workout routine should last at least 15 minutes and be performed three to four times each week. Use the strength training equipment outlined above and engage in exercises like the knee fold tuck. This exercise requires sitting upright on the floor with the knees bent and squeezing a ball between them. Lift your knees so your ankles are nearly parallel to the floor. Extend your arms. Pull your knees in toward your shoulders while keeping the rest of your body still. Return your knees to the starting position. Perform 10 reps.
The Sliding Pike
Start out in a plank with a towel beneath your feet. Straighten your legs, lift your hips then draw your legs in toward your hands to reach the pike position. Your feet should slide with ease. Hold for a full second and return to the beginning position. Repeat the sliding pike 10 times.
Side Balance Crunch
Start out with your right knee and right hand on the ground. Keep your left arm up straight. Extend your left leg so your body creates a straight line. Pull your left knee in to meet your left elbow. then straighten the arm and leg. Repeat 10 times on each side.
The Circle Plank
Begin in a plank position with a flexed core. Pull your right knee inward and move it in a clockwise circle. Then move it in a counterclockwise motion. Keep your body stationary while moving your knee. Perform the motion five times with each leg/knee.
The Climbing Rope
Begin in a seated position with your legs extended and your feet turned outward to create a “V”. Flex your core and roll your spine to form a "C" shape. Lift your arms and move them as though you are climbing a rope. Twist with each climbing motion. Perform at least 20 reaches with both arms.