Core Strength

Core Strength

The muscles of the core form the basic foundation of all strength and movement within the body. They are responsible for stabilising the body during any form of movement, as well as maintaining an erect posture when standing or sitting upright.

Why is core strength important?

In order to generate powerful movements of the arms and legs, we first need to have a solid foundation. This is created through the contraction of the core muscles which then provides a solid base so that we are able to run, push/pull and kick with force.

In this modern age many of us are living increasingly sedentary lives. We spend so much time sitting, whether it be at work, in the car or in front of the TV. These extended periods of core inactivity weaken the muscles, which puts our body at risk of injury and back pain.

By promoting core strength through targeted exercises, you can reduce back pain as well as improving your posture, enhancing general strength and athletic ability, increasing your flexibility, balance and coordination and of course flatten and strengthen your abdomen.

A strong core helps protect the back by effectively distributing any stress that is created through weight-bearing, which means that building and maintaining a strong core will not only help keep your back healthy and strong, but also keep you mobile and active as you move into your twilight years.

What muscles make up the core?

Often people mistakenly think of the core muscles as just being the abdominals, however the abdominals only make up a small part of the core and they have a very limited and specific action. The core muscles are actually made up of a combination of muscles along the torso, including the hips, pelvis and into the neck. These can be divided into two groups, those that attach directly to the spine, supporting its movement and stabilising it, and the others that are attached to these stabilising muscles, working with them to create movement.

These include transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, the rectus abdominis, erector spinae, the longissimus thoracis, the diaphragm, the pelvic floor muscles and the most powerful muscle, the multifidus that runs along the length of the spine and stabilises it. There are also the minor core muscles that include the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, the hip flexors, and the gluteus maximus.

What exercises improve core strength?

66FIT Core Strength Trainer with Handles and Pump.
Improve Core Strength with 66fit Balance/Core Trainer.


The most effective exercises, for strengthening the core, are the ones that focus on several different muscles of the core at the same time. Equipment such as the balance core trainer and the gym ball are both fantastic tools for helping you tone and improve core strength, by incorporating the need for balance into your regular core exercises. The roller wheel is a useful piece of equipment to use because it targets the lower abs, whilst simultaneously working on the muscle of your shoulders, back and chest.

Exercises to improve core strength include:

  • Basic Crunch – Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place both hands behind your neck, engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine and on each exhalation draw your arms, head and shoulders up off the ground, towards your thighs, pause and then inhale as you lower back down.Bicycle Crunch – Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed towards the ground, engage your abdominal muscles. Put your hands behind your neck, and alternately bring one knee towards your chest whilst twisting slightly and reaching towards it with your opposite elbow. Then lower and repeat on the opposite side. Keep both legs off the ground for the duration.
  • Plank – Supporting your body on your forearms and the balls of your feet, keep your elbows aligned with your shoulders and your feet hip width apart. Keep the length of the body aligned so that the hips are not raised or lowered.
  • Side Plank – Lie on your side, keeping your legs straight and aligned with your body. Prop your body up on the forearm closest to the ground, so that you are balancing on your forearm and the side of your foot. Lay your upper arm along your body and keep your hip up off the ground and aligned with the rest of your body. Hold and then repeat on the opposite side.
  • Heel Taps – Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet on the floor and your arms along the sides of your body. Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your arms, head and shoulders up off the ground and bend to the left reaching your left hand to tap your left heel, then bend over to the right and reach your right hand to tap your right heel. Continue moving from side to side without lowering back down.

Why not join in with the Core Strength conversation in our 66fit LinkedIn group?  You can also find us on Facebook as 66fit Australia66fit UK and 66fit Deutschland.

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