It’s definitely beach season here in Mount Pleasant and Charleston…perfect time to delve into one of our favorite topics, THE CORE!
But first of all, just to make sure we’re all on the same page—what exactly is your core?
Self Magazine spells it out like this: “Your core is made up of a group of muscles that work together to support and stabilize the trunk of your body. While we often think of our core as our abs, the abs are only one part of the equation. The core wraps around the entire body, and includes muscles like the rectus abdominus (the abs), obliques, and yes, the muscles in your lower back.”
So beyond your belly, your core is exactly like it sounds, the CENTER of your body. If you want to delve deeper into the matter, we did an article a while back (click HERE to find it).
This week we are debunking some myths with our TOP FIVE CORE-BUILDING DON’Ts
#1 Don’t Be Afraid to Hold Still
Contrary to popular belief, getting a strong center does not mean blasting out 500 sit-ups. It’s time to debase the exercise myth that the more crunches you do, the stronger your core becomes. In fact, research is showing that JUST doing crunches can actually HURT you.
Nowadays the crazy “ab cruncher” craze of the 80’s is giving way to the idea that when it comes to building a strong core foundation, there is STRENGTH in STILLNESS.
NBC News quotes Brian Bott, certified functional strength coach, founder of Aspire Fitness and co-author of Get With the Program: “When we think about core training, we focus on preventing movement rather than creating it. A lot of back injuries can be attributed to repeated flexing and extending of the spine. This is the exact movement you are doing performing a crunch. Yes, you feel them in your abs, but it’s not quite the way your core was designed to work and it comes at the expense of your back.”
#2 Don’t Just Focus on Your Six Pack
To piggyback on the idea of using your center to STRENGTHEN your body, Harvard Medical School reminds us that only caring about the washboard is missing the point: “A rippling six-pack and a weak back are a recipe for disaster. So don’t just focus on abdominal exercises that buff appearances. A program that works all core muscles protects your back and boosts sports performance.” An Insta-worthy BEACH BODY is just an added bonus!
#3 Don’t Neglect Cardio
If you’re STILL obsessed with getting Chris Hemsworth’s bod, unfortunately strengthening your center is only ONE STEP on the way to mythical greatness. Take it from VeryWellFit: “While exercising the muscle may increase endurance or strength, it won’t burn off the fat in that area…The only way to burn fat from your belly is…with consistent exercise — Cardio, weight training, and flexibility, and a healthy, low-calorie diet.” So you may be able to plank your way to greatness, you still need to eat well, lift weights and get your cardio in to chisel your midsection.
#4 Don’t Forget to Incorporate Compound Movements
As all DUFFNATICS know, we like to make our workouts efficient and interesting for our clients— and one way to do that is through combining activities in something called Compound Movements. BodyBuildling.com explains: “Compound movements like deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses engage every inch of your core.” So you don’t even notice that you’re working your core until AFTER you’ve finished the workout! Plus combining exercises helps you burn more calories, so win-win!
#5 Don’t Ignore Good Posture
Sorry slouchers, it turns out that standing straight is great for your strength. Fitness Magazine quotes Brynn Putnam, founder of Refine Method. Putnam explains that if you maintain proper posture, any exercise can become a CORE exercise: “The key to working your core effectively is to maintain a ‘neutral spine,’ or the natural curvature of your back, in every exercise you do…Just be sure to work with enough resistance or intensity that you feel your core muscles reflexively brace or squeeze when you move.”