Defined arms, slim legs, firm buttocks and a taut belly . All great. However, many athletically active people forget to train the core muscles. Yet the abdomen, core and torso are the center of strength that holds the body together. Whether in strength training or in everyday life, a strong trunk makes us more resilient and efficient. When people think of core muscles, they immediately think of sit-ups and a six-pack. However, this is far from the truth, because a trained core is much more than that. So it’s definitely worth paying a little more attention to this body part by incorporating some core muscle exercises into our workout routine. Where are the core muscles located and why should we train the core regularly? All this and everything about trunk strength training we will tell you in our article!
Rumfpkraft exercises should be the focus of any strength training. Because our trunk suffers! The little physical activity and work, as well as the many sedentary jobs put an incredible strain on the body and eventually lead to restrictions in mobility, severe back pain or even disc problems. A strong core is not only important to improve our sports performance, but provides better posture and can relieve pain. All the little everyday things such as cleaning or even tying shoes use the core muscles and the stronger they are, the more resilient we become. Trunk strength training is one of the functional workouts. This means that, unlike normal strength training, we do not focus on individual muscles, but always train entire muscle chains at the same time: In other words, several muscles that are functionally linked to enable us to perform certain movements.
What does the trunk muscle do and why should you train the trunk?
The trunk is often referred to as the “core,” which translates from English to mean “middle” or “core,” and that’s what trunk strength training is all about: the center of the body. So the goal of core strength exercises is to stabilize and train our core. The torso is the central pillar of our body and is anatomically composed of the chest, abdomen, back, pelvis and rib cage. However, the trunk muscles include not only the back and abdominal muscles, but also parts of the thigh and gluteal muscles. The trunk is not made up of mountains of muscles, as is known from other muscle groups, but rather lies in the deeper layers and consists of many small muscles that are responsible for the support and holding function of the body. The trunk muscles transfer power from the lower to the upper body and vice versa and are therefore a basic requirement for almost every movement.
Torso strength exercises provide an upright posture and stabilize the center of the body. Even before we perform a certain movement, the brain sends signals to the trunk muscles via the central nervous system to activate our muscles. So without “pre-activation” of the torso, we would simply fall forward when extending our arms, for example. To help you understand the importance of a stronger core, let’s give you a little example from training. When we do a push-up, the muscles in the core area prevent our pelvis from sagging and we go into a hollow back. Or when we do a one-arm plank, for example, the core muscles have to cooperate so that we keep our balance and don’t tip to the side.
Why is it worthwhile to include core muscle exercises in our training plan?
Stable trunk muscles give us support and a weak trunk, in turn, can lead to back pain, poor posture or severe musculoskeletal pain. The core is, so to speak, the link between the upper and lower body and serves to stabilize the pelvis and spine. In addition, a strong core improves coordination and balance, which is beneficial both during workouts and in everyday life. Here are the top reasons why you should definitely include core strength training in your workout routine.
- Trunk Strength Exercises for Back and Neck Pain – When we exercise our trunk regularly, our lower back also becomes stronger. With strong back and abdominal muscles, we keep ourselves more upright, protect our spinal discs and compensate for misalignments, significantly minimizing the risk of back pain.
- Core strength training reduces the risk of injury – More stability in the core area automatically means more body control. This helps prevent any injuries and falls.
- We become more flexible – The stronger the core is, the less stress is placed on the individual joints, ligaments and tendons in the lower body. In addition, trunk muscles are responsible for our coordination skills and ballance and ensure that we are more flexible.
- You run faster – Yes, even runners should perform trunk strength exercises regularly. Strong core muscles improve the interaction between the lower back, hips and pelvis, which has a positive effect on our running performance.
These exercises are ideal for effective core strength training
We all know crunches and sit-ups. Sure, these are effective too, but there are actually many more core exercises that are just as good. The best thing about core strength training is that you don’t need any expensive machines or special equipment and you can do the exercises from the comfort of your own home. To ensure that you strengthen the core in a targeted and consistent manner, pick 5 to 7 of the following core strength exercises and perform them 1-2 times a week. Do 3 sets of each exercise for 12 to 15 repetitions and rest for a maximum of 30 seconds between sets.
- Single Arm Plank – The Plank exercise is one of the most effective ways to work as many muscle groups as possible at the same time. Start in the classic High Plank position and position your hands below your shoulders. Keep your back straight and make sure your body forms a straight line. Now slowly raise one arm forward and extend it without losing balance. Hold the position for about 30 to 40 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Plank Jacks – This is a more effective exercise that is a combination of plank and jumping jack. Start in the classic High Plank position and position your hands below your shoulders. Keep your feet closed at first and quickly jump outward. Make sure you don’t lose tension in your torso and don’t form a hollow back. In this exercise, only the legs should move while the hips and body remain stable.
- Gym ball push-ups – In order to maintain balance, the unstable surface requires you to activate several muscle groups at the same time. This is exactly what makes most gym ball exercises ideal for effective core strength training. To avoid possible injuries, always make sure you use proper and clean technique. Bend your elbows to the side and squeeze the exercise ball. Slowly lower the weight of your upper body downward, keeping your head in line with your spine. Exhale deeply and gently push yourself back to the starting position of push-ups.
- Crunches with exercise ball – Classic crunches and sit-ups aren’t challenging enough for you? Then try this variation. Prop your elbows on the exercise ball while your feet remain on the floor. Now slowly roll the ball forward and hold for 2-3 seconds. Then slowly roll back, making sure to keep your body straight and your gaze down.
Trunk muscle exercises for a toned abdomen
- Squat with crunches is a wonderful squat variation , with which you can train the legs and core strength. Stand upright with your legs shoulder-width apart and interlace your hands behind your head. Squat deeply and once you come back up, bring your right elbow and left knee together in front of your body. Then do another squat and repeat on the other side – this counts as one repetition.
- Side Lunges – Starting in a hip-width stance, tighten your abdominals and butt and take a big step to the side with one leg until you reach a 90-degree angle at the knee joint. Make sure the tips of your toes are pointing forward and your feet remain parallel to each other. Now push off with your bent leg and repeat on the other side. Try to do 10 to 12 repetitions per leg.
- Toe Touch (jackknife) is a great variation of the well-known crunches and works the straight and pyramid abs. Lie on your back with your hands extended above your head. While doing this, keep your legs, shoulders, heels and buttocks firmly on the floor. Now move the legs and torso upward at the same time, and while the legs are perpendicular to the floor, try to touch the feet. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat a total of 12-15 times.
- Standing balance is one of the best trunk muscle exercises to improve our coordination. Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart and tighten your abdomen. Now slowly tilt your upper body forward and simultaneously lift your left leg and right arm. Hold the position for a few seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg – this counts as one repetition. Be sure to keep your back straight while doing this.
- Dead Beetle – Lie on your back and keep your arms extended and straight up. Bend the legs so that the knee and hip joint form a 90-degree angle and the lower legs are parallel to the floor. Now move the left arm and right leg down, but do not touch the floor. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds and return to the starting position. Then repeat on the other side, completing a total of 10 to 12 repetitions per leg. To increase the difficulty, you can either use weight cuffs for the legs or hold lighter dumbbells with your hands.
- Side plank with leg raises – Lie on your left side while supporting yourself on your left arm. Tighten the abdominals and back and push the hips up until the body forms a straight line. Slowly raise the right leg and arm about 15 times, then switch sides.
- Four-footed knee raises – Begin in a classic four-footed stance with the hands under the shoulders and the knee joints under the hips. Tighten your abdomen, keep your back straight and slowly lift your knees off the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds and lower the knees again. To increase the difficulty, try performing a few steps to the left or right.
- Prone arm and leg raises are one of the simplest yet most effective core exercises you can do anywhere.Lie on your stomach and extend your arms and legs. Tighten your abdomen, back and buttocks and lift your left arm and right leg off the floor at the same time, stretched. Hold briefly and repeat on the other side.