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Basic Core Exercises for Your Strength Training Workout Routine

Core exercises have become all important in the fitness movement, and with good reason. Recognizing the abdominal muscles as central to the fitness and strength of the body has led more instructors to invent routines that not only provide a great, calorie burning workout, but also improve strength and balance while reducing the chance of strain and injury.

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Stability & Medicine Balls are Your Workout Tools

When people think of strength training, weight lifting comes to mind, and most people think of leg presses and arm work, but your back needs strengthening too. Strength training for the back and abs can be done with a medicine ball or on a stability ball. The stability ball is also excellent for working on balance - another vital component of health. If your balance isn't good, you increase your chances of injuring yourself, because your muscles aren't as responsive as they should be in shifts underfoot. Daily balance training with a medicine ball or wobble board is excellent for children and may help prevent them from common childhood accidents like falling out of trees or hurting themselves in skating or biking accidents. And balance training is one way to keep elderly people safe from falls; the most common and dangerous thing that happens to older folks.

Give Pilates and Yoga a Try to Tone Core Muscles

Toning and strengthening are basics for core routines, but muscle building and fat burning are also parts of the equation. Pilates and Yoga both work the abs, back, legs and arms, while increasing balance and stability. Yoga is best known for stretching the muscles, adding flexibility and endurance. The primary focus of Pilates, which is wildly popular with celebrities for getting the body in shape, is strengthening the core muscles of the body. The movements are dressed up versions of the things we already know are great for tightening the stomach - primarily crunches of one kind or another. There is the straight up crunch, which targets the upper abs, the sideways crunch that works the obliques, the double crunch in which the head and elbows are brought toward the knees and feet, and the reverse crunch, where the lower body works, impacting the lower abdominal muscles. Pilates classes combine core movements with the classic crunches, leg lifts and stretching to create a satisfying, whole-body workout.

Keeping the body strong means managing your weight, staying in balance and getting daily exercise, all of which can be accomplished by a good core routine. But everyday activities are important too: correct posture when sitting and standing helps keep your abs strong and lessens strain on the back. Paying attention to the way you lift and carry can prevent some of the most common (and debilitating) injuries. A strong core supports your other muscles from a central position of strength, so it's less likely that you will lose your balance or strain muscles in lifting or carrying heavier objects.

Continue reading the next aerobics article on stability ball exercises for abs and back

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