Fitness enthusiasts, or those who go to the gym, usually hear how important it is to strengthen your core muscles. Your core is composed of any muscle located between your pelvis and the base of your ribcage. These muscle regions are the abdominal, pelvic and lower back regions. These three muscle regions work together to support your spine, which is why is it very important to strengthen them. Everyone will benefit from a strong and healthy core, not just athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Indeed, a strong core is vital to everyone’s well-being.
WHAT IS AN ISOMETRIC CORE EXERCISE
Isometric exercise is a form of exercise in which you execute an isometric muscle contraction. In an isometric muscle contraction, the muscle exerts force without changing its length. Unlike traditional exercises like weight lifting which involves lengthening of the muscles, isometric exercises have little or no joint movement. In an isometric core exercise, the core is held in a non-moving or stable position to isolate the targeted muscle. The muscle is then allowed to grow stronger through resistance without movement or pain. In an isometric core exercise, the core muscle’s contraction is maintained for the longest period of time that the person can bear. By gradually increasing the resistance, the muscle grows in strength and endurance.
BENEFITS OF AN ISOMETRIC CORE EXERCISE
Aside from strengthening the core muscles to produce rock solid abs, isometric core exercises will also benefit those people who are suffering from osteoporosis and back pain. Under our external core muscles are the Transverse Abdominus and the Internal Abdominal Obliques. These are the actual core muscles that are structurally deeper and therefore closer to the spine. They have a greater role in having a healthy back and good posture. They are also the main support of our abdominal muscles. The deeper of the two is the Transverse Abdominus, which envelopes the abdominal muscles and is responsible for stabilizing the trunk and keeping the waist tight. The Internal Abdominal Obliques assists the Transverse Abdominus in stabilizing the trunk. In order for these internal muscles to function properly, they must be strengthened by doing a variety of exercise. Isometric core exercises are a great way to improve core strength.
ISOMETRIC CORE EXERCISES
There are many isometric core exercises designed to strengthen and develop the core muscles. It is wise to keep in mind that isometric core exercises may raise the blood pressure considerably, so those who suffer from high blood pressure must exercise with caution. Good posture and form is also important in achieving maximum effect. Pull your stomach in towards your spine while tilting your pubic bone toward your navel. Keep your back straight by keeping your chest lifted and putting your shoulder down. It is important to breath continuously for the duration of the exercises. Exhale upon exertion every time you repeat an exercise. For optimum results, it is best to do these exercises at least twice a week.
Isometric Push Up Exercise – Get into a normal push up position by extending your arms directly under your shoulders and having your body in a straight line. Keep your neck in a neutral position as not to strain it. Don’t let it hang down. Keep your body in this position for around 6 seconds. You may gradually lengthen the number of seconds as you build strength and endurance. Rest between repetitions.
Push Away Isometric Exercise – Lie on your back with bent knees and feet pressed firmly on the floor. Lift both legs up while keeping the kneed bent. Place your hands on each knee and push them forward. Let your knees resist the force of your hands. Keep yourself in this position for around 6 seconds. You may gradually increase the number of repetitions as you go on.
The Plank – Lie flat on the floor and slowly raise your body so that you are resting on your toes and forearms. Pull in your abdominal muscles and keep your back straight. Keep your body in this position for at least 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise 2 or 3 times.
Plank Exercise Using a Ball – You may also incorporate an exercise ball in this exercise. It is similar to the Plank but in this case, you put your elbows on the ball while your balance with your toes on the floor. This is more challenging since the ball will move slightly, making your balance harder to keep. In effect, your abs will work harder at keeping your balance.