Core Strength Vs. Spinal Flexibility: Which approach provides more long-term benefits?
Flexibility and strength are two major factors when it comes to balancing your fitness goals. You want to achieve the perfect balance of agility coupled with fortified strength without going overboard. Two areas that focus primarily on agility and strength are your spine and abdominal core, these two areas are essentially epicenters for power production and physical fitness.
While these two areas of the body play an integral role in sustaining one another, they often times play a game of tug of war in terms of how they interact with each other during physical activity. A perfect example of this would be crunches, crunches are an exercise that incorporates the use of your spine to achieve a strictly core abdominal core focused result.
Crunches have been known to cause spinal and back related issues in people who excessively perform the routine. However, there are instances where people can do an insane number of crunches without experiencing any side effects on their spine. Spinal flexion or simply put “bending the spine” has its advantages, these advantages include increased range of motion, agility, dexterity, and fluid mobility.
The downside is that too much force applied to the spine can spell very severe consequences if not carefully monitored. Core abdominal strength training can be achieved by combining variations of spinal rotation and stability exercises which will provide you with a solid foundation of both increased muscle mass and flexibility.
While spinal flexion is a great benefit to have in certain instances such as being a gymnast, the uncertain long-term side effects are a huge reason to avoid solely focusing on this area of fitness. The primary focus of your fitness routine should be core stability work, by focusing intensely on your core you’re able to build potential energy in the area which can later be transferred to other aspects of your fitness program.
Core stability work can even help you avoid large injuries or pain associated with the spinal area which is why putting the main focus on core strength is so important. Most daily activities require the use of abdominal strength which is why it’s such an important area to focus on. There are a lot of techniques that you can use to increase dexterity in the areas surrounding your spine without actually exerting too much physical force on the spine itself.
Spinal flexibility can be a very dangerous thing to consistently try to achieve, an abdominal strain or injury may hurt however you’re likely to recover from it rather quickly. Spinal injuries, on the other hand, are much more of a severe issue to deal with and they have the potential to disable your ability to properly function as a whole.
The best route of action to take in terms of spinal flexion and abdominal core strength is as follows. Focus primarily on abdominal core strength and do small stretching exercises which increase your overall range of motion without exerting too much physical force on your spinal area.