If you follow the fitness industry, you may have noticed that the term "Core Training" gets thrown around a lot. It's the new fitness buzzword. Everybody and their dog wants a stronger core... but usually, they just mean they want a 6 pack. This is a really common misconception and one that I'd like to clear up today. Core training is NOT just about your abs!
So what exactly is core training?
Here is the Coles Notes version but you can get more of my Core Training tips (and more!) in my Free 3 Step Guide to Belly Fat Freedom here.
It is a form of strength training that focuses on (Yes) your abdominals, but also lower back, glutes, hips and pelvic floor. I like to think of it as a block from your shoulders to the bottom of your your glutes (your butt), 360 degrees around. Regular strength training of your entire core (not just abs) will not only prevent injury, it will also give you amazing definition in your middle (when combined with healthy eating of course)
Why can't I just do crunches?
Well you CAN if you really want to however I don't really recommend it. In my early days as a Fitness Instructor, I used to bicycle crunch and leg lift with the best of em'. But the truth is that there is too much research out there about why we should't crunch that I simply can't ignore it anymore.
Dr Stuart McGill, a Professor from the University of Waterloo is one of the world's leading researchers in spine health. His studies conclude that traditional crunches can place up to 3300 newtons (that's the equivalent of 340 kg!! ) of force on your spine. This of course can lead to low back problems such as bulging discs and nerve pain.
In addition to low back issues, crunches can also be particularly problematic for post partum women (read more about the do's and don'ts of Post partum exercise) who have experienced diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal wall) or pelvic floor dysfunction such as leaking or pelvic organ prolapse.
Repeat after me: No more crunches! No one likes doing them anyway!
So what can I do instead?
As a Personal Trainer, I recommend doing exercises that train all the muscles supporting your spine (abs, low back, glutes, hips, pelvic floor) You want to teach these muscles how to brace and support you as you move through your daily life. I'm a big fan of Dr McGill's Big 3 but sometimes you need a little variety.
Here are 3 of my favourite Crunch Free Ways to Work you Core!
You can add these to your current workout regime or do these 3 on their own up 2- 3 times a week to build a stronger, leaner core. I recommend starting with 8-10 reps of each and working your way up to 15-20 as you get stronger (and you will!)
2. Kneeling Ball Roll out
3. Side Plank with Rotation
To learn more Crunch Free Ways to train your Core and the surprising reason you may be storing belly fat, download your FREE 3 Step Guide to Belly Fat Freedom today.