Stabilizing muscles are also called the core muscles because they are the base of our body.
They participate in all positions and movements, even when just sitting or standing, and the condition in which you maintain them determines your stability and balance in everyday activities.More importantly, the strength of these stabilizing muscles significantly affects general fitness results.
Which are the stabilizing muscles?
Imagine the group of stabilizing muscles as a belt that keeps the lower part of the back, abdomen, hips and pelvis firmly from all sides.
When all these muscles are solid and function in harmony, your body is upright and works very easily. But if you allow them to relax, you risk injuring yourself not only during exercise, but also in the simplest movements outside the gym.
The movements of our body are aided by many stabilizing muscles, but in order to explain the point why you need to maintain them in excellent shape, we will focus on 3 groups of muscles – front and internal abdominal muscles (abominis), lateral abdominal muscles (obliques) and spinal muscles (erector spinae).
The main function of all muscles that fall into these groups is to ensure stability for the spinal column. The front and the inner abdominal muscles allow flexibility of the spine, the side abdominal muscles help with its rotation, and the spinal muscles help with movements involving stretching the spinal column.
What you get with strengthening the stabilizing muscles?
As mentioned at the outset, stabilizing muscles participate in all positions and movements of the body, but with their strengthening you will enjoy several important aspects like an athlete.
✓ Improved balance
Strengthening the stabilizing muscles improves the balance of the entire body, giving you greater control over your movements.
✓ Increased strength
You need the strength in the area of the stabilizing muscles for almost all body movements, especially when exercise and the gym are in question. The strength in the arms and legs of course has its role, but the stabilizing muscles are at the core of the movement.
✓ Better performance
When exercising with weights, the body naturally activates the group of stabilizing muscles to keep the balance and help with dealing with the challenge. For example, spinal muscles help you perform biceps exercises.
✓ Reduced risk of pain and injuries
Weak stabilizing muscles can cause irregular posture, leading to back pain and the risk of exercise injuries. This applies to all muscles in this group, because unequal force can cause a problem. For example, if the back muscles are strong, and the abdominal are weak, at each major effort, your body will compensate and transfer the weight to the back. But, if you train these muscles equally and allow them to function in harmony, you will provide perfect movements during exercise.
Exercises for strengthening the stabilizing muscles
Include the following exercises in your training program that will help you maintain proper posture and excellent form when performing all other exercises.
This exercise will help you achieve the perfect harmony between the spinal and the abdominal muscles. Make sure to keep your legs and arms upright and keep muscle contraction for better stability. Breathe normally, and try to keep yourself longer in this position each next time than the previous one – 20, 30, 40 seconds.
Cable wood chopper
You can perform this exercise from different sides and angles, because with the execution of the rotation you strengthen the abdominal muscles, especially the side muscles. Always keep your hands upright and finish the movements to the end.
You can perform this exercise freely, with a medicine ball or weights. As you do it, hold your hands straight and move the torso without turning your neck. Keep the muscles in contraction for 1-2 seconds at the end of the movement – when you are facing the side.
Hanging leg raise
You can perform this exercise by holding your legs right and forward, and you can also perform it by rotation to the side. What’s important is your movements to be controlled, to contract your abdominal muscles and keep your upper body in a static position.
Ab wheel rollout
This is an exercise which you can perform in many different versions. Always be careful that you keep contraction of the stabilizing muscles and move forward to the extent that you are sure you can go back from.
Keep in mind that you can strengthen the stabilizer muscles by exercises involving complex movements, such as squats or dead lifting.
You do not have to take time for special targeted exercises, just be sure to include the group of stabilizing muscles in your training program, because they make your daily life easier.