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Focus on the core for an efficient workout

The following article was submitted by guest columnist Kimberly Logel.

Strength training is one of my favorite ways to work out. If done properly, it can be the most efficient and effective training you do for your body. Both men and women can benefit from this, since muscle mass is the key to maintaining metabolism and bone density. Strength training also helps to improve coordination, balance and safeguard your joints. Learning the lowdown on your body’s mechanics will help you build a stronger, leaner, injury-resistant body.

Many people work out daily, but have not seen improvements in quite some time. This can be attributed to taking a passive approach to training, by distracting yourself with devices, versus concentrating and focusing on your body’s movements. Plus, many workouts are based on one-dimensional movements associated with bodybuilding. There is a lot of pushing and pulling, but rarely are the core muscles – hips torso, pelvis and lower back – integrated into the training.

We need to rediscover and reactivate the core movements we were born with and that we see in children. Children can lunge, twist, crawl, balance and pull, naturally. Somewhere along the line, we stop moving this way and subscribe to workout programs that actually discourage these natural movements.

Most movement starts from a remarkable muscle called the transverse abdominis. Think of the TA as nature’s weight belt. It originates from the lower spine, wraps around and attaches to the ribs, abdominals, and pelvis. When we draw the belly button in toward the spine and up toward the ribs, we are essentially tightening a belt, ensuring the protection of the pelvis and lower back. Your natural weight belt stabilizes the pelvis and supports the torso.

The body can be retrained to be more explosive, flexible, elastic and functional. There is no reason to burden yourself with limitations. Knowledge is empowering. Once you understand the science behind what you are doing and truly participate in the workout, you will be able to enjoy the benefits and freedoms of increased physical activity and an overall stronger and resilient body.
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