Core Training? No Thanks!
Apologies if this sounds a little harsh but when someone states “I really need to build up my core” my first thought is to beat them to death with their own shoes as their mother watches!!
I have not actually done this but it does make me a little sad inside to hear such a ridiculous statement fueled by what is currently “cool” in the fitness industry. F£@k off with your Bosu boards, F£$k off with your standing on one leg, F@£k off with your kneeling on a swiss ball NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOO…..phew I needed to get that out of me.
Now let me explain what must seem an over the top reaction to this and why you will find most other trainers worth their salt will be just as passionate in their abhorrence to the importance of training “The core”.
The core is made up of muscles deep within your midsection, attaching to the spine or pelvis. These muscles are where every movement originates and it is the main source of all stability through the body.
Whatever you do whether it be jumping, sprinting, jogging, picking up a weight or just tying your shoe laces, these “core” muscles are there to keep your body stable and well balanced. Your core has been happily working away since you were a baby and it is working as you sit and read this blog. Of course something that is so essential to the working of our body should be given it’s due attention but not to the detriment of the rest of your physique as is the current fitness industry standard.
You just need to refer back to the first sentence of this paragraph to know why you do not need to kneel on a Swiss ball whilst your manorexic “core specialist” personal trainer tries to make up an even more complex exercise for your next set.
WHATEVER YOU DO… YOUR CORE MUSCLES WILL WORK!
If you are maintaining good posture throughout your exercises you will get a great core workout and if you are doing a big functional exercise like a deadlift or squat you’ll be strengthening the whole of your muscular and skeletal system at the same time.
It is all to often that the training programs touted to be the best for “getting ripped” or “building a bullet proof core” (what does that even mean) involve exercises that are deemed to be functional for the core because they involve rotation or balance but that DEFINITELY doesn’t work. Now what does work to do the above is a structured weight bearing strength program involving squatting, bending, lunging, twisting, pushing and pulling under maximum controlled load. Then chuck in some sprinting, boxing or similar and you are good to go.
Have a look at the “functional core” version of the exercises that really do get you results and I hope that once compared it will scare you away from looking for that elusive 6 pack on top of a gym ball:
The Deadlift aka The Daddy of Lifts
The Bench Press
If you want to get great results stay away from the exercises on the right and stick to the age old classics, on the left, that actually work. Done
Of course if you suffer with bad posture or an inability to create optimal core stability then you do need to address these issues first but it should be with the aim of progressing to the exercises that have been the base of any good physique as quickly as possible.
I think my real issue is that when I worked in a chain gym like Virgin Active we were always told that functional/core exercises were the best exercises for fat loss, muscle sculpting and enjoyment but I’ve never met someone with a good body that concentrates on core training exercises or balancing (barring gymnasts but then again they are doing handstand pressups on the rings!!)
If nothing else I just want you to take away the fact that if you want to get a strong, aesthetic and healthy body you need to perform exercises that get this for you even if they have not recently featured on the cover of Heat or Womans Health magazine! I bet this exercise has though……..
Next time you meet someone that has the body you want just ask them when was the last time they stood one legged on a Bosu board or even saw a blue dumb bell.
Train hard, eat clean…standard!