The first body parts that most people want to change and usually tone up are their abs. Six-pack trends in more than 11M posts. It is not uncommon to see people in the gym doing continuous crunches with the hope it will create definition.
Rather than aesthetics let’s quickly look at the functionality of our core. Think of your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. No matter where your movement starts from walking, lifting, cleaning, climbing stairs it ripples upwards or downwards. A strong core is vital for balance and stability.
Benefits of having a strong core:
- Helps with everyday tasks
- Supports on-the-job tasks: Jobs that involve lifting or twisting for example
- Aids in having a healthy back
- Improves sports activities
- Helps you do housework and gardening
- Promotes a good posture
Having a weak or unbalanced core muscles can impact all of this. Whilst there is nothing wrong with wanting tight abs, overtraining those muscles whilst ignoring the muscles in your back and hips can set you up for injuries.
If toned abs is what you want then losing body fat through a balanced diet, eating slowly until you are 80-90% full, some cardiovascular exercise and strength training will all contribute.
I usually add a core circuit at the end of my cardiovascular session and or use it as active recovery in strength training. Some ideas to include in to your training:
- Hollow holds
- Planking – progressing with variation
- Side Plank
- Cable Push Pull
- Wood Chop
- Bicycle Crunch Twist
- Russian Twists
- Dead Bug
If you have any questions, drop me a comment below. I’d love to hear if you include any of these in your training.