Why Core training is your friend in your transition and post your Menopause.


What is actually our core?

Often we refer to our core to the "six-pack" that lies somewhere behind our wobbly bits, something we wish we had more of. However our core muscles are not just the rectus abdominis aka "six-pack" but comprise of all mucles that support the lumbar pelvic‐hip complex to stabilize the spine and pelvis which means they are not just the abdominal muscles but also “postural” muscles, posterior muscles of the lower- and middle back, and hip muscles.

Having spend many years running and being part of running club I know from my own experience that unless we are chasing those six lines or suffer from lower back pain we barely workout our core...and if we do, it is only really our abdominal muscles. The emphasis on training just those muscles can lead to muscular imbalances that are not visible and can go unnoticed for many years. Though it is exactly these muscular imbalances that can exacerbate normal age-related changes such as bone and muscle loss and can have a detrimental effect on the overall stabilization of our bodies.

Given that the risk of osteoporosis is very high as we go through our menopause and our bones are more fragile and break more easily, we need to make sure that we prevent falls that can easily lead to fractures. Doing adequate balance and strength training of all core muscles will help you to keep us upright and free from unplanned falls. After all your core is involved, either directly or indirectly, in every motion that your body performs. Whether you are bending down to pick up after your kids, reaching back to get a book from the shelve, getting up out of bed in the morning or just standing up straight. All these movements involve your core and your core is what keeps you upright.

Important to know is that one muscle is not more important than the other. Weakness in any of these muscle groups can lead to structural issues and injury and it is therefore essential to train the core as a whole.


How do I train the core?

Because there are so many muscles involved, it is important to train the core from all angles and directions. Core training does not just consists of traditional crunches, sit-ups, and planks but it is crucial to look beyond that and be mindful of how much your core is involved in everyday movements. For example, when you lift something overhead, the core makes that movement possible. You’re engaging all core muscles, front to back, side to side.

For these two exercises are really great:

  1. Barbell or Dumbell thrusters

  2. Barbell or Dumbell front squat

They both heavily engage the core by stabilizing the entire body through the movement. In fact, any overhead movement is an excellent way to work those stabilizing core muscles.

Other great, more traditional core exercises by region are:


Lumbar spine stabilizer exercises:

  • Swimmers

  • Kneeling side bridge

  • Single‐leg raise and reach

Abdominal muscle exercises:

  • Plank

  • Side Plank

  • Plank with leg raise

  • Stability ball plank

  • Oblique crunch

  • Russian twist preferably with weights