To celebrate the beginning of a new school year, we’re going to take out our pencils and thinking caps and spend some time over the next month answering some of the most common fitness questions we receive. If you’ve got something you’d like us to tackle, hit the comments section below or mail us here with your question in the subject head.
Today we’re going to talk about the best types of workouts for your core. But first, we need to actually define what the ‘core’ is. Most folks think of their abs when we talk about the core–more specifically the show muscles of a six-pack. And certainly those muscles comprise part of your core. But that’s hardly the whole story.
As an athlete, heck, as a person, you rely on your core primarily to stabilize your spine. Reading this at age 20, you may not be all that worried about intervertebral relationships and a rigid back under external load; once you hit 40 and spend your first night in the recliner or on the kitchen floor after tweaking your back picking up your son or daughter, you begin to see things in a slightly different light. To this end, we like to think of our core as all of the abdominal and spinal musculature from about the bottom of your ribcage to an inch or two below the belly button. Not just the six-pack, right?
So what works the core best? For our money, compound movements like squats, deadlifts, presses, and carries do the best job of building strong, durable core musculature because success in each of these movements requires a stable spine and sufficient tension for optimal force transfer. Additional static ab work like planks, deadbugs, and Russian twists are great ancillaries to the main lifts.
Movies, magazines, and the Gram may tell us differently, but our core is here to keep us strong, stable, and sufficient for whatever life throws our way. Squat, push, pull, carry, and plank in intelligent combinations several times a week.
Any questions on putting a routine together? We’re here to help!