6 pack, 8 pack, 12 pack, or no pack. How would you describe your stomach muscles when you see them in the mirror? In my years in the fitness industry, the universal sign for someone being fit is the shape and definition of their abs. Please don’t get caught up in the hype, it takes WAY more than that! I know, I know, if you’re like most exercise enthusiasts, you may have never seen the muscles in your abdominal region. Trust me, they’re in there. If you’ve been on the Temple Takeover journey for any length of time, you’ve heard me say this before: The way you eat determines the way you look. So if you want to unveil your hidden, beach body abs, it’s time to make some adjustments to your diet. Once the dietary changes have been made, shift your focus on developing your core strength.
Which muscles make up the core?
- Transverse Abdominals: These are the deepest of the stomach muscles and are also considered as the most important for a strong core. They will help with flexing and twisting at the waist and they protect our organs, but their main job is to create a strong core link between upper and lower body.
- Obliques: These muscles are positioned slightly to the sides of our waists and link all the way up to the rib cage. You might refer to them as you ‘love handles.’
- Rectus Abdominus: The 6 pack: which sits on top of the other stomach muscles and down the centre from the rib cage to the pubic bone.
- Erector Spinae: These are in fact very small muscles that run up your whole spine on both sides. These muscles tend to be very tight and weak outside of the normal range. That is why, if you have a weak core, it is these muscles that tend to take the brunt of it. Obviously their main job is to keep you upright but they also help with the twisting and bending of your trunk.
- Iliopsoas: Also known as your hip flexor muscles. These are situated at the top front of your legs and help raise the upper leg upwards. These muscles are notorious for being short because of the amount of sitting we tend to do and as they join into the lower spine they can be a direct cause of lower back pain.
- Gluteus Maximus: One of the biggest muscles in your body. It plays a major part in moving the legs during running, walking etc and is very important for good posture, which in turn is essential for a strong core.
- Gluteus Medius and Minimus: These muscles are underneath your gluteus maximus. They are much smaller and again seem to be generally weak in most people. They enable your legs to step out to the side and allow for outward rotation.
Now that you know the exact makeup of your core muscles, here are some exercises I want you to incorporate into your weekly routine. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and repeat the circuit three times.
Here’s a scripture for you to meditate on this week as you focus on the core of who you are physically.
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle (Romans 12:5 MSG).