Crunches, Planks, Crunches, Side Planks, Cable Crunches, and …. Yeah just stop.
We need to be more in control of our core to build a better body.
Our core is made to hold our torso up along with transfer power from the lower half of our body to the upper half and vice versa.
Think about it, in the upper body and lower body you have bones everywhere. In the core you only have your lumbar spine, a stack of bones at the back of your body. That means in the front there are no bones supporting your upper body. To keep your body upright and not bent over forward we have to train the core to support our upper torso.
Crunches are great for targeting the abdominals.
It’s just too bad that the core is made up of so much more than just the abdominals. You might even hit your oblique muscles as well. What about your transverse abdominus(TA)? Have you even heard of that? The TA is what you really should be engaging when you are doing planks, deadlifts, squats, or anything that needs you to create a ball of air in your abdominal region to support your spine.
Those examples above are just a couple of muscles that make up your core. Depending on how you are using your core it could involve anything from your diaphragm to your pelvic floor.
Get the Most from your Core Exercises-
Movements need to be slow and controlled at all times. All of my clients get mad at me because I make them move slowly, especially when learning something new. They always want to move fast to get the exercise done with. Slowig movement down forces more control.
Engage you core by thinking about pulling your belly button up and in towards your diaphragm. Don’t forget to breath. You may need to practice this. If you need to practice this, lay on your back with your knees bent. Pull your belly button down to your spine and up towards your diaphragm. While holding this position breathe.
Understanding neutral spine. To find neutral spine lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Put your hand under your low back. You should have an arch raising your low back off the ground. Flatten your low back out on the ground. This is neutral spine. If you can find this position while standing or in other positions it can help your core to be stronger.
Now take the 3 exercises below and combine them with the tips I just went over to get the most from these.
For this you will set up with a cable at a low station. I like using a rope but you can use any handle. Assume a stable base of support by putting a slight bend in the knees and pushing your hips back slightly. You will pull the rope up across the front of your body with your arms straight throughout the motion. The pull to the up position is kind of fast. Now slowly reverse the motion this is where you will get the most from the exercise. This exercise also involves your glutes and hips to control the movement.
Lay on your back with your arms by your side and legs out straight. You will lift your legs about 6 inches off the ground. Lift your upper body up at the same time. Push your arms down by your sides to engage your lats. This is a great tool to teach your lats to work with your core as they are needed for this with exercises like deadlifts. Pull your belly button up and in towards your diaphragm and flatten your back on the ground. You will hold this position.
This exercise is similar to the Hay Bailer in that it uses a cable or band from the side. You want a cable or band at the height of your abdominals. Stand perpendicular to the station with your knees slightly bent and hips pushed back. Pull the cable out in front of your aligning with your sternum. Lock your shoulders down by engaging your lats. Press the cable away from your body while continuing to engage your lats. You will hold this position. Unlike the Hay Bailer that you use rotation, this exercise is made to resist rotation.
Author: Personal Trainer and Owner of Fitness Reimagined