Your core muscles—lower back, hips, glutes, trunk, and stomach—play a huge role in your everyday life. Whether you realize it or not, core muscles are vital to many common movements, such as lifting, twisting, reaching, and bending. While showier muscles in other parts of the body might attract more attention, a strong core is a critical component of good fitness. Unfortunately, many people have weak, inadequate cores. Find out if you are one of them by looking over the following signs of weak core muscles.
Lower back pain: The lower back is one of the most common sources for recurrent pain. If the muscles surrounding your spine are weak, the vertebrae and discs of your spine would not be properly supported. The lower back is supposed to have a forward curve to it, but weak core muscles will make this position impossible, resulting in pain in the surrounding muscles and tendons. If you do not have a more serious back condition, any lower back pain is likely a result of core weakness.Poor posture: The muscles of the abdomen and lower back combine to hold your spine and pelvis in place. If these muscles are weak, your body will be unstable, and you would not be able to sit or stand erectly for more than a short period. Instead, you will habitually assume slouched, slumped positions, which in turn will strain your muscles. Only those with strong cores can maintain a healthy posture for long periods.
Bad balance: Your core muscles stabilize your entire body, so a weak core will affect your ability to balance. Since poor balance is not usually obviously noticeable, you will need to perform a test. Check your balance by standing on one foot with your eyes closed. Test one leg, than the other. If you cannot hold this position for at least ten seconds with both legs, your balance is subpar — probably because of an underdeveloped core.
An inability to pass the hollowing test: The simplest way to check core muscle strength is the hollowing test. Take a deep breath. As you begin exhaling, pull your stomach back towards your spine as far as you can. Hold this pose for ten seconds; if you cannot make it that far, your core needs some work.
General weakness: Muscular weakness in any part of the body can be a sign of an inadequate core. While the core provides needed stability for almost all movements, weakness in the arms and legs may be a manifestation of core weakness.
Unable to hold a plank: A plank is a popular abdomen exercise that can test your core strength. Perform a plank by entering push-up position, then holding your body so that your weight rests on your arms, elbows and toes, with your hips held steady and level. Hold as long you can. If you cannot go at least 50 seconds before your hips give out, your core is probably too weak.
The power for most body movements is generated from the core, which means that a weak core will affect everything you do. Clearly, improving a weak core is worthwhile. Fortunately, there are many simple exercises designed to strengthen the core muscles, so start working out if your core needs improvement.