You’ve probably heard mixed responses on wether you should directly train your core or not right?
I mean with all these Insta Gurus it’s bloody hard to know what the actual fuck to do!!
Every second person recommending something different and for someone like yours truly who gets to train 70 badass women each week it makes me cringe some advice I see online from people who probably haven’t trained an actual client everrrrr *insert over dramatic crying face emoji
There are those saying all other lifts target this section so it isn’t needed and there is no point because doing core work won’t actually give you a flat stomach, you can’t build abs blah blah blah….
SO lets clear it up shall we?
You should 110% train core.
NOW lets get it straight what your core is before I tell you why because it is a word that gets thrown around a little to loosely… that’s what she said (sorry couldn’t help myself)
Your core refers to your entire midsection – front, back AND sides – NOT just your abs (rectus abdominis) your abs make up only a part of your core.
Right’o Tell I didn’t come here for a anatomy lesson…
Your core muscles act as stabilisers – they keep your body safe during day-to-day movements such as bending over, picking things up and even getting out of bed. They also help increase full potential strength on main lifts (squat, bench, deadlift)
If you have a weak core you’ll experience back pain (a SUPER common issue!), shitty posture (especially while sitting or in that case slouching) AND you wont experience true potential strength on your main lifts not to mention your form on these lifts probably wont be so crash hot either….
BUT TELL CAN’T I WORK ON MY CORE BY LIFTING WEIGHTS?
Sure – if you have fab body awareness you’ll more then likely train a parts of your core by lifting weights no doubt about it BUT how much control do you really have and how much focus are you putting on the correct muscles?
This is why training your core directly is important – body awareness and muscle activation – just like doing a heap of body weight, bad form squats won’t give you an ass – doing a heap of ab exercises whilst not focusing OR not doing it correctly won’t increase core strength.
By adding a small 5-10minute routine 2-3 times a week you will dramatically change the way you move, improve posture (especially with a sitting job) increase strength and WILL define your midsection – I truly believe core work gets giving a bad name because people throw a few sit ups in a set and call it ‘core’ my girls and I very, very rarely do sit ups – so what do we do?
WHAT CORE EXERCISES SHOULD I DO?
PLANKS AND STATIC HOLDS: I great place to start is static hold exercises like planks and hollow holds because you aren’t moving you have a chance to really squeeze (am I mean squeeze) the muscles you are trying to target. They should burn and and shake – get to know what this feels like so you know what to look out for when progressing….
ROLL UPS/TEASERS: Once you nail static hold exercise begin to add moving exercises that create body awareness and core control such as roll ups which will teach you to move your body all whilst keeping activated – you learn to control your body rather then getting momentum from other muscles like your arms and legs.
LEG EXTENSIONS: Now your body control is down pat lets focus on keeping your core tight whilst moving your legs away from the body – think leg raises, flutter kicks and scissors – all exercise commonly done – but commonly done incorrectly – as your legs extend to straight your lower back should NOT lift away from the ground – once this happens you’ve lost control so either a) complete the exercise with knees bent at 90 degrees or b) decrease range of movement – don’t take your legs raise all the way down to the floor it may only be a slight movement as long as you stay in engaged thats all that matters.
WEIGHTED/RESISTANCE: If you are nailing all of the above add a dumbbell, bands, kettle bell or weight plate to the exercise to advance it but be sure you never loose control and remember to focus on what you are doing, feel the muscles working.
VARIETY: Don’t complete the same exercises each week – change reps, angles and weights – there is so many deep muscles throughout your core by doing the same movements you will not target all of them, won’t progress and will get bored very quickly. Adding in a variety will hit the different areas and will teach the body how to keep tension throughout out each one of them.
Soon enough by adding in the above and doing it correctly I guarantee you’ll notice a HUGE difference in strength, definition and injury prevention/rehab.
Stay Strong & Stretch,