"BYE BYE" CRUNCHES... "HELLO" CORE!
So, what about all of this talk about the CORE? Is it really worthy of all of the hype?
It shouldn’t be surprising that the approach to proper exercise is changing right before our very eyes. Compared to research for drugs there has been very little money, as well as time and energy, spent toward finding the most beneficial approaches to train the human body. This is unfortunate, because the best drug possible is a proper nutrition and exercise program. But, how could America have trillion dollar drug and fast-food industries if we were all healthy at the age of 50, 60, 70…100? Because of this short-fall in proper research to truly develop a proper understanding of optimal human nutrition and exercise, we have done a lot of hypothesizing, or should I say, flat-out guessing?
Have you ever wondered why numerous exercise programs focus on the abdominal area? The answer is simple and here is the reasoning. BODYBUILDERS HAVE NICE BODIES AND THEY DO LOTS OF ABDOMINAL EXERCISES. Period. I would like to think that the reason was somewhat deeper than this, but I am afraid not. The idea that the general public has to spend hours in the gym, move lots of weight, cut their calories and take tons of supplements has been promoted by the assertion that the bodybuilders are the picture of perfect health and fitness levels. Well, WRONG. I will speak on this unfortunate hypothesis future articles, but for today I want to focus on another of the many bodybuilding misconceptions that still pollutes the health and fitness industry.
“Doing conventional abdominal exercises are the best approach to have a strong mid-section”. This statement is wrong on a number of levels, so let me first speak to the fallacies concerning the mid-section.
There is no such thing as so-called “spot reduction”. Crunches may help develop the muscularity of the Rectus Abdominus but it will not reduce the fat that sits on top of it. If you want to have an abdominal area with definition, you will have to drop your body-fat enough to do so.
Twisting exercises that hit the External Obliques do not narrow your waist, they actually widen it. Once again, if you want a narrow waist; you will need to drop your body-fat.
Having a six-pack abdominal section does not guarantee a strong “Core” area. Trust me on this, a couple of my most fit looking clients (yes, six-packs) have had the weakest core strength.
So, if the bodybuilding approach is not the proper way to work the abdominal area for functional strength, what is? Well, the answer isn’t actually the abdomen at all.
So, what is the answer then?
THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE... IT IS THE CORE!
The core as described by the National Academy of Sports Medicine in their Certified Personal Trainer Course Manual: The central section of the body consisting of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, pelvic girdle and hip joint, and all of the muscle that attach to these specific areas.
Do you want to improve your balance?
Do you want to improve your athletic performance?
Do you want to improve your posture?
Do you want to improve your coordination?
Would you like to perform your daily activities easier?
Would you like to improve your joint strength?
Would you like to decrease your risk for muscular injury?
There is no better place to start than the Core!
Your goals can range from wanting to move like a thirty year old at age sixty, to being able to perform your sport of choice better than ever before.
Your goals may range from rehabilitating a low-back injury or even moving with more confidence in a wheel chair.
ability to integrate the core into these movements is a necessity.
abdominal-crunches, reverse-crunches and oblique twists will not get the job done.
So, a good amount of time should be spent each workout prioritizing the core. Actually, though challenging, this may be the most gratifying part of one’s workout as it becomes really evident when you improve your core strength. This experience is quite motivational as it is very simple to gauge your progress.