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Why Core Strength?

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Getting out of your car, riding on a train, carrying groceries or simply walking outside on the beach are all examples of real-life situations where you utilise your core. But what actually is the core, and what’s the best way to strengthen it? Read on for all the details you need... What are your core muscles? Your core muscles are connected to your legs, to the way you stand, squat and sit. It’s not just about the abdominal muscles, but also your back, your glutes, and the entire area that connects to your spinal cord and helps your body support your spine, so that the burden of supporting your body weight isn’t just placed on your bones. Strong core muscles can improve your posture, reduce injury and help you reach your fitness goals. Your body will be supported in proper alignment and won't fatigue as quickly. Anatomy and functions of the primary core muscles Rectus abdominis: flexes the trunk Erector spinae: extends the spine and keeps you upright Internal and external obliques: side bends and rotates the spine; tilts the pelvis Anatomy and functions of the deep core muscles Pelvic floor muscles: support the pelvic organs such as the bladder, intestines and uterus (females) and prostate (males) Multifidus: provides postural stability between the vertebrae Transverse abdominus: acts as an internal weight belt by compressing the internal organs and stabilizing the spine During movement, the gluteals, hamstrings, hip flexors, quadrates lumborum and latissimus dorsi can all be regarded as being major players of the core. What’s the difference between core training and working your abs? The difference between core and abdominal training is that you’re not just targeting the front side of the body but the back side of your body as well. A core workout will also include the erector spinae, which are the muscles that make up your back, and also your glutes. A movement that works your core is going to work more than one muscle group, and you’re going to see results a lot faster. What is the best way to start training your core? Pilates is the way to a stronger core! In recent years, Pilates has taken centre stage as a core muscle exercise program. It requires concentration and focusing on the abdominal muscles while limb movements are carried out. We offer a range of different Pilates sessions.  If you’re a complete beginner to Pilates then I would recommend the Fundamental Pilates classes that we currently run on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11am  - 12 noon. Pilates emphasises relaxed, smooth movements and rhythmic breathing. It is now being used as a training technique in many sports. Bear in mind that every type of exercise carries the risk of injury, therefore when beginning these exercises, you should have one of our Fitness Instructors or our experienced Pilates instructor, Lisa Mint, guide you in perfecting your technique. Why not book in for your free Body For Life Programme and spend some time with our fitness experts discovering the wide range of exercises there are for the core. My favourite core exercises... The Plank – How to Do the Basic Plank 1. Get in the push up position, only put your forearms on the ground instead of your hands. 2. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abdominals. 3. Keep a neutral neck and spine. 4. Create a straight, strong line from head to toes – a plank. 5. Hold that position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising form or breath. Dumbbell Woodchop  Hold the dumbbell with both hands and straight arms. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. 1. Slightly twist your torso toward the outer side of your right knee. Keep your chest up, arms straight and abdominals in. 2. Pull the weight up across your chest in a diagonal fashion with straight arms. Movement ends when the dumbbell reaches your left shoulder. Feel a stretch in your abdominals at this point. 3. Return to starting position by slowly lowering the weight in the same fashion. Do 10-12 repetitions each side for one set. Mountain Climber with Ball Place your forearms on the ball, feet apart and legs straight. Keep your spine straight from the top of your head to your tailbone and pull your belly button in toward your spine. 1. Lift your left foot and bring your knee toward your chest. 2. Return the left leg to starting position and repeat with the right leg. 3. Do 10-12 repetitions per leg to complete the set. Kneeling Alternate Arm and Hip Extension (with ball) Place abdomen on the ball with your toes and hands on the ground. 1. At the same time, lift and reach your left arm and right leg toward the ceiling. Try to lift both limbs to the same height. Maintain both pelvic bones on the ball throughout the movement. Avoid excessive curvature in your lower back, draw your belly button in toward your spine, keep your nose pointing down to prevent strain on the neck and activate your buttocks. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds. 2. Return to starting position and repeat 6-8 repetitions each side.  
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All levels

These classes have been specifically designed to allow participants to work at their own intensity level, with the ability to modify all exercises according to their own personal fitness.

Beginner

A person new to training or an individual with below average fitness levels can be termed as a beginner. These classes are also suitable for those returning to exercise after a break/injury.

Intermediate

A person training at intermediate level should have a fair amount of base fitness and coordination and thus can be exposed to a higher intensity workout.

Advanced

At an advanced level, the participant should have experience in subjecting themselves to high intensity training on a regular basis. Every person starting off as a beginner should aspire to reach this level.

Online booking is available for members for classes, activities and spa treatments.
Non-members can book our spa treatments online, and please call 01983 766222 to book classes or activities.

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