It used to be that strength training was just for bodybuilders whose main goal was to increase muscle mass and appearance. More recently, strength training has become recognized for its overall health benefits. With that came the realization that strength training isn’t necessarily about bulking up. Everyone can benefit from strength training without drastically changing their body appearance.
A formal, personalized program of strength training has been linked to a number of health benefits, including:
- Weight loss
- Injury prevention
- Better respiratory function
- More coordination
- Improved musculoskeletal alignment and body posture
- Increased bone density
- Improved immune system response
But, unfortunately, the aesthetic benefits of strength training can affect how many of those benefits you enjoy and to what extent you enjoy them. Many of us still flock to the gym and pay a disproportionate amount of attention to the ‘mirror’ muscles, including our arms, chest and legs.
While it helps to work on all parts of your body in your strength training program, you will get more benefit from it if you work on them starting from the ‘core’ of your body, and working your way out to the extremities of your arms and legs.
Why You Should Maintain Core Stability
Your core muscles, the muscles in your torso, are like your body’s main support column. In building construction, a weak main support system can cause problems just about anywhere else in the building. Similarly, weak or neglected core stability can reduce the benefits of strength training and even cause poor posture, joint pain and inflammation elsewhere in your body.
Your core muscles are at work in almost everything you do, helping to stabilize your spine and keep your body properly aligned in every movement you make. Core muscle fitness helps you in every physical action you take, thereby improving performance of the action and reducing your chance of injury.
This is especially true in strength training. As you extend the limits of what your muscles can do, you need to maintain strong core stability to increase the performance of each exercise, limit the chance that your program will be interrupted by pain or injury and, quite simply, get better results.