Everyone wants to wear the fitness badge of honor – a six pack. The good news is that everyone has it; it’s just hidden beneath all the fat. The bad news is that toning the muscles and losing the extra inches off your waist is actually hard work and it takes a lot of determination.
Crunches are extremely popular but they are not the way to go as they put too much pressure on your neck and lower back. That's even why they are one of the exercises doctors will never do. Back pain can occur from too much flexion in the spine and from the many repetitions.
The abs are, unfortunately, some of the hardest muscles to tone in the body because when it is stressed, it tends to store fat in the midsection. But the results are worth your every effort. But there are other reasons to work the core. Ivy Karlinsky, personal trainer at Transform 180 Training, created the following list.
Lift more weight
While you might not realize it when you're doing it, you use your core when performing squats, overhead presses, deadlifts and many other strength exercises. Having a stronger core helps you stabilize your body better which will allow you to lift more weight and do so more efficiently.
Runners who incorporated even a few minutes of core exercises at the end of their workout increased their running performance by at least 3 percent. When your core is stable, you are able to power your legs faster without fatiguing as quickly.
Keep your knees happy
Part of your core extends to include your glutes, so when doing exercises that work these areas like squats, weak core muscles can put extra stress on the knees. According to the Huffington Post, one study showed that people with knee issues had 30% weaker hip and outer thigh strength than those without.
Protect your upper body
Having a strong core not only helps your lower body, but is also important for upper body exercises. Being able to stabilize your body with a strong core allows you to execute upper body exercises properly without swaying or bowing the back. This also allows you to power from your midsection, not just the arm and deliver a greater force.
If you are a cyclist, you may have experienced a sore back or neck after being on your bike for a long period of time. Having a strong core will help stabilize not only the back but also neck muscles which helps you feel better longer and recover faster.
Relieve back pain
Spending the majority of the day sitting can cause arching of the back which leads to weakened abdominals and low back pain. By strengthening the entire core, you make sure all sides of the core are balanced and can work together.
And not in the way you're thinking. Having strong back muscles will help you stand up straight, keeping the shoulders back which can make you look taller and leaner, not to mention more confident.