Advanced Workout: Functional Strength Training for Your Core

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Im focusing once again on core training because I just cant emphasize enough the importance of strengthening your stabilizing muscles for the prevention and treatment of back pain. As I mentioned before, Ive had back (and sciatic) problems myself and I know firsthand how debilitating they can be. Trust me, nothing will derail a fitness program (or interfere with your life) faster than back pain! If youve never had back pain and you currently arent doing anything to prevent back problems, chances are not in your favor of avoiding some type of back-related problem down the road. About 80% of people develop back problems at some time in their life. Unfortunately, many back problems can linger and disrupt life for months and even years. If I could do things all over again, Id have taken better care of my back way before now

Anyway, if you are serious about taking charge of your body then you need to get serious about back care and core training exercises. Doing the proper exercises will minimize long-term wear and tear on your body and help keep you looking and moving young for years to come.

Even if you are an experienced athlete, strengthening and conditioning the core stabilizing muscles of your abdominals, glutes, back and hips can improve your athletic performance and help you move through the activities of your day efficiently and with easeand most importantly, without pain! Improving your core strength can even help you shed excess body weight.

A Functionally Fit Core Training Approach

Lately Ive been working on core training with fitness expert Gary Lavin, CSCS, (co-owner of Fitness ReDefined in Jupiter, FL) and one of the biggest things he has taught me is that my core work should also involve training my body through basic daily movement patterns instead of focusing only on isolating single muscles in an exercise (which is a large part of what I was doing before.) Garys approach places an emphasis on how the body functions and moves in real life. I really like this approach because it doesnt just create a body to look good; it develops a body that can actually DO things! I for one dont want to just stand around in a swimsuit, I want to be able to move without pain and I want to be strong and fit enough to do whatever it is I want to do (although I do think my gymnastics days are past me)

Dont Just Go Through the MotionsFocus on What You are Doing!!

When doing the exercises in the video try to connect your mind to what your body is doing. Dont just fly through the movements. For years Ive been guilty of trying to breeze through my workouts as quickly as possible (in an all-out effort to get it over with!!) but lately Im really trying to slow down and focus on each exercise (as opposed to letting my mind wonder, which is what it usually does!) Ive found that by focusing on each exercise and initiating my movements from my center (or core) Ive been getting better relief from my back problems. This mind-body / core connection Im talking about might not be something you can grasp right away and you might even need to hire a personal trainer to help guide you. But, I do think it can make a difference—not just in pain relief but also in strength gains and overall fitness.

The Healthy Back Workout- Level 2

Gary designed this workout as a more advanced workout that should only be performed after you can easily complete all of the exercises from the Level 1 Workout. The workout is designed to be done in a circuit format. Move quickly from one exercise to the next without resting. Complete the circuit 2 to 3 times through.

1. Resistance band
2. Large stability ball
3. 2-5 pound dumbbells

For the complete workout please click on the link below:

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