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Three Trendy Ways to Strengthen Your Core Muscles

February 09, 2015 in Article, Seasonal, Tips, Wellness/Prevention,
Posted by Michael W. Hasz
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While core strength is often confused with having “six-pack abs”, it is actually the combination of abdominal, gluteal and upper thigh muscles which support and protect your back. Core strength serves as the foundation for safely and optimally performing athletic and daily activities such as running, jumping, lifting, carrying, and throwing.

While there are many individual exercises that can be done to strengthen your core, there are three popular group classes (which I enjoy) that combine many of these core exercises in a social group environment. These three group classes: yoga, barre, and Pilates, each are very popular and are very good exercises to be used to strengthen your core muscles, to increase your strength, tone, and improve posture. They can be used independently or as a part of your overall activity and fitness program.   

Yoga

There are many forms of yoga that focus on stretching, balance or strengthening. The yoga I enjoy most is Vinyasa Flow Yoga. In fact, I benefited from it a great deal and went through the feature training course and become a certified yoga instructor. Vinyasa yoga includes exercises to strengthen the core. Exercises that include balance, stretching, plank exercises, as well as breath control, are all part of the yoga experience.

In yoga, just as it is in other forms of classes, when you initially start the program, it will seem completely new. Over time, as you become more familiar with the exercises, as well as become stronger, gain endurance, then not only are there the physical benefits, but also potential life-changing experiences as well.

Barre

Barre classes is a form of exercise inspired by ballet. Performed in a group setting with energetic music, the micro-movements isolate and fatigue muscle groups to tone, improve posture, and strengthen the core muscles.

Many describe the barre technique as a fusion of Pilates, yoga and ballet. As barre classes became increasingly popular I decided to sample a class and found the low impact on my joints, focus on posture and balance, and concentrated muscle work, all contributed to create a well rounded workout.

Pilates

Joseph Pilates started this form of exercises based on his training with those in ballet. Currently, Pilates is taught either in group classes, or on an apparatus machine on more a one-to-one basis.  I was introduced to Pilates through a classmate at the NY Trapeze School, who was a previous dancer with the San Francisco Ballet and is now a co-founder of the Georgetown Pilates School.

Pilates is also known for strengthening the core, as well as overall strengthening, toning, and improving posture. It is a program that can fit all of us as we seek to strengthen our balance and strength.

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