While you may think of your “core” only when you’re doing specific ab movements, you’re actually using these muscles all day, every day, which is why core exercises are so important. Whether he’s walking, reaching, balancing, getting up from a chair, or just standing tall, the muscles in his abdomen are activated to keep him stable and supported through almost every movement.
“People generally think of the abs when referring to the core, but our core is actually made up of a much more complex network of muscles found in the trunk of our body,” said certified personal trainer Brian Abarca, CPT, owner of Abarca Fitness in New Jersey, he tells himself.
These include the rectus abdominis (along the front of your abdomen, probably what you think of when you think “abs”), the transverse abdominis (around the sides and spine), the erector spinae (in lower back), the pelvic floor muscles, and the internal and external obliques (along the sides of your abdomen). Abarca says even your rotator cuffs, lats, trapezius, and pectoral muscles can be involved in core work.
If you engage your abs when you’re lifting, strengthening your core muscles to keep you more stable and allow you to resist twisting or arching.any the exercise can become an abdominal exercise. Also, some exercise routines with movements that you might not think of as “core exercises” also burn those muscles, especially those where you’re lifting weights overhead, such as overhead presses, holding the weight in front of you, like with goblet squats, or challenging your balance, single leg deadlift style.
But because of how much you use your abs in everyday life and during your workouts, it pays to show them a little more love with a few specific core exercises, says Abarca. That can not only help with injury prevention (including back pain!), but it can also improve your range of motion, build strength, and maintain mobility.
Below, check out 34 great basic moves that the best trainers trust. Sprinkle a few of these throughout your next full-body workout, or throw a few together for an easy core sequence.