Core training is all the rage these days. In fact, core training has been the rage for very long time. The primary reason people care so much about their “core” is because they associate a strong core with a sexy 6 pack. WRONGGGGGGGGG!!!
Let me first define what your “core” really is…
Very simply put, your core is a guywire system comprised of inner and outer muscular units that act on your spine to create stability, allow motion and create motion. We can realistically consider all muscles from your clavicles to your thighs, front to back as part of your core. So yea, much more than just your abs.
Let’s clear another thing up; just because someone has a 6 pack does not mean they have a strong core. The ability to perform 1,000 crunches also does not indicate core strength or anything beyond needing a new way to fill free time besides doing crunches and tweeting about it.
So without anymore delay, I will share with you MY top 3 core training rules
- Resist Motion
I focus much of my core training on teaching my core muscles to resist excessive motion in the spine. This could be something as simple as a forearm plank (which resists spinal extension) or a more advanced exercise like a split stance high-low cable chop (which resists spinal rotation). A strong conscious glute contraction along with squeezing your stomach muscles will allow you to be very strong in these anti-movement exercises. Training in this way will also have a functional carry over to everyday life.
Try this very basic anti-movement circuit:
Perform these exercises in sequence with no rest= 30 Second Forearm Plank, 20 second Side Plank each side. Try to do 3 rounds without resting.
I firmly believe that most people can and should train their core in some capacity every single day. Now this will obviously be with varied intensity, but exercises like plank variations will not create much muscle damage that needs days and days to recovery. They will, however, train your nervous system to engrain proper contraction patterns that will allow core stiffness to become automatic.
When training the nervous system, frequency is your friend. Rather than doing 500 sit ups to get disgustingly sore, for a couple of days, choose exercises that you can do regularly. Also mix things up for variety. Consult one of our professionals to add unique exercises to your core training arsenal. If you do happen to be sore from a hard workout then stick with low intensity core circuits as a method of increasing frequency while allowing recovery. You week might look like this…
Monday- Medicine Ball Slams, Offset Farmers Carries, Hanging Leg Raises
Tuesday- Plank Leg Lifts, RKC Planks, Side Planks for time
Wednesday- Pushup Planks for time, aiming to increase time and conscious tension weekly
Thursday- Static Pallof Presses for time, Swiss Ball Body Saws
Friday through Sunday- RKC Planks, Dead Bugs, Active Side Planks
- Create Movement
Yea yea I know. Number 3 completely contradicts number 1, but let me explain!! In everyday life you place stabilizing demands on your core while creating motion in your limbs. We see this in sports when a running back takes hits from all directions while bracing his core in an attempt to keep pushing forward. We also see it when your mom carries groceries on one side and opens the trunk with her other arm. Implementing exercises into your core training regimen that teach the core to maintain spinal stability while allowing the limbs to generate force will be way more beneficial than crunching yourself to an injured back.
With that in mind, be conscious of core contraction during everything you do. Running sprints? Think core. Shooting hoops? THINK CORE! The more conscious you are of core contract the more automatic it will be in times when your back is compromised, like yanking a weed out of the garden.
For a more detailed core training article read this. To have a personalized core training program design specifically for your needs and abilities contact me. Train your core smarter, not harder, and prevent injury while improving performance in life.