Published By: Sanjukta

Abs workout: Engage your core the right way

A stable core is more useful than just looking good and can be attained by engaging core during abdominal workouts and even during everyday chores

Unlocking the secrets to an effective abdominal workout begins with understanding the core, the powerhouse of your body's stability and strength. The core encompasses a complex network of muscles that encircle your midsection, providing essential support for your spine, pelvis, and torso. Properly engaging the core is the cornerstone of a successful fitness regimen, as it not only enhances your physique but also plays a pivotal role in maintaining good posture, preventing injuries, and enhancing overall athletic performance.

Primary muscles that make the core

Rectus Abdominis: These are the "six-pack" muscles located at the front of your abdomen.

Transverse Abdominis: This deep muscle wraps around your abdomen and acts like a corset, helping to compress the abdominal contents and stabilize the spine.

Obliques (Internal and External): These muscles are located on the sides of your abdomen and assist in rotation and side bending movements.

Erector Spinae: These muscles run along your spine and help maintain an upright posture.

Multifidus: These small muscles also run along the spine and aid in spinal stability.

Engaging your core is like creating a protective shield for your body. It involves tightening and bracing various muscles in your midsection, including your abs, lower back, hips, and even your butt. Imagine it as if you're preparing to withstand a punch to your stomach, but instead of sucking in, you're taking a deep breath and tightening all these core muscles. Think of it as "zipping up" your abs, pulling your navel towards your spine.

Now, why is all of this important? Well, engaging your core is like wearing a protective belt for your spine, just like professional weightlifters do. They might look like their stomachs are bulging over their belts, but that's not because they're out of shape. They're using their breath to push against the belt, adding extra support for their spine, especially when lifting heavy weights.

So, why should you care about engaging your core? Firstly, it helps prevent injuries during exercise. It creates a strong ring of muscles around your spine, keeping it from bending or twisting too much, which could lead to issues like back pain or spinal disc problems. Not engaging your core during exercise has even been linked to shoulder and elbow injuries.

Plus, having a strong core can help with chronic back pain. It's a key part of everyday movements and athletic activities. In a nutshell, engaging your core is like wearing a safety belt for your body—it keeps you stable and safe.

Even during cardio exercises like running, engaging your core can improve your posture and reduce aches and pains. It keeps your chest up, shoulders back, and can prevent neck and lower back discomfort. So, whether you're lifting weights or going for a jog, remember to engage that core for a safer and more effective workout.

Exercises to Engage the Core


The plank is an excellent exercise for core engagement. Start in a push-up position with your arms straight, and hold your body in a straight line, engaging your core muscles. Hold for as long as you can.


When performing a deadlift, engage your core to maintain a stable spine as you lift the weight from the ground.

Russian Twists

Sit on the ground, lean back slightly, and lift your feet off the ground. Hold a weight or medicine ball and twist your torso from side to side while keeping your core engaged.


Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes and engaging your core.

Hollow Body Hold

Lie on your back, lift your arms and legs off the ground, and create a "hollow" shape with your body while engaging your core.