If you are actively strengthening your core muscles, you should invest time in a good core stretch routine.
Strengthening the core muscles is great to do for anyone with bad balance. The muscles between our ribs and pelvis help to stabilize us when moving and changing positions throughout the day. If you are only tightening the muscles of your core, but not stretching them, you are only doing half the job.
Why Stretch Your Abdominal Muscles?
When it comes to stretching, the core muscles tend to be ignored. Most people these days know that they should stretch their legs, arms, back, etc. after weight training those areas. I rarely see people stretch after abs. As with stretches of other muscles, a good core stretch may increase flexibility and enhance muscular function.
Picture a seesaw. Contracting (or shortening) any muscle may cause us to be imbalanced or overly tight. Stretching (or lengthening) that same muscle or muscle group will bring us back into balance.
Another reason we should actively stretch the core muscles is to counteract the effects of sitting. Many people (including myself) don’t always sit properly (sitting with bad posture or for too long). This may cause us to hunch over with a curved back and shoulders that are curled in. This often manifests itself as back pain and sometimes hip pain (hip flexors).
In order to correct these muscular imbalances or now tightened muscles, a few minutes of good stretching (either static or dynamic) will do.
Doing some form of core stretch every day will help to counteract the strain put on those particular muscles. Since the majority of us use these muscles throughout our day it stands to reason that we should lengthen/loosen/relax/disengage those muscles by stretching them.
Benefits of stretching the core include:
- lengthening your torso
- making it easier to perform other exercises
- making it easier to perform daily activities
- helping to address postural issues
How To Stretch Your Abdominal Muscles
Yoga is arguably the most effective method for stretching you’ll find. On a personal note, I have seen an elimination of hip pain due to regular Hatha Yoga classes I’ve been doing enabling me to walk and kick pain-free – although I am still working on my balance.
Anyway, here are some quick poses you can do every day: Baby Cobra, full cobra, and cat-cow.
You can also incorporate a stability ball into your workout to get a good stretch. Take it slow though, adding the stability ball will challenge your balance.
Take a look at these 2 videos to see how to do some of the exercises and poses.
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