Often, when I talk about core training, I find that most people don't actually understand what I mean. We've been brought up under the impression that a strong core = a well-defined, visible six pack of abs. The truth is, we couldn't be more wrong.
Can you have a strong core without a six pack? Yes.
Can you have a visible six pack and a weak core? Not commonly, but yes.
Core training is the term used to engage and strengthen our deep stabilising muscles. These are the muscles that help prevent injury, keep us moving safely and efficiently and increase our overall strength (contributing to better lifting form at the gym as well as a more efficient posture in every day life). Win win, right? Unfortunately, many individuals miss the mark with core training. This blog post will detail the fundamentals and help you get started with your core training journey.
Where can you find your core muscles?
It's important to note here that you may find varying information as to which muscles contribute to your core. These are the muscles that I believe to be fundamental in keeping out bodies strong and stable.
Top tips for maintaining a strong core...
Imagine your pulling the bottom ribs and the top of your pelvis together and tying a knot.
Don't hold your breath, keep breathing and preferably into the belly.
Engage other big muscles to support i.e. gluteus maximus (bum) and latissimus dorsi (back).
Take your time, the slower you move through dynamic movements, the more strength you'll build.
Remember, it's not all about the six pack.
Top tips for scheduling your core training...
Unlike typical abs training, where you tend to perform reps at the end of a session, before you stretch. I recommend that core training be implemented right at the beginning of your workout, after you've raised your heart rate and before you got your hands on any kind of weight.
Essentially, think of core training as opening up the door to great stability. When you switch on and engage your core at the beginning of your workout, not only are you training those muscles to get stronger, you're also activating them to keep you safe and help you perform optimally in your session.
To start, I would recommend choosing one static and one dynamic core exercise from the following pages to perform at the beginning of your workout. If you're doing upper body in your session, you'll also want to choose one that incorporates the upper body stabilisers of the shoulder i.e. plank exercises.
My top 5 core exercises...
The Plank - See demonstration.
The Hollow Hold - See demonstration.
The Deadbug - See demonstration.
The Back Extension - See demonstration.
The Side Plank - See demonstration.
You'll see I've also included youtube links to video demonstrations of each exercise, but if you want to learn more about these exercises. Head here and download my free core training guide where I break down how to do the movement as well as show beginner to advanced progressions.
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list of core training exercises. If you'd like to learn more, please schedule a free consultation call by clicking the link at the bottom of this page and I'll be more than happy to discuss core training for your specific goals in a little more depth.
What's your favourite core training exercises? Leave a comment below!
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