Core work. You hear it all the time! But what is it? And why is it so important?

No! It is not about doing countless crunches and focusing on those abdominals. The core is much more complex than that. The functional core includes any of the muscle groups that hold the pelvis and spine in their neutral position, including the Rectus Abdominus, Transverse Abdominus, Internal and External Obliques, Diaphragm, muscles of the pelvic floor, muscles of the upper and lower back, and even the muscles supporting the hips. These muscles strengthen the spine and pelvis during complex movements. The core is also the link between the upper and lower body, creating a power transfer or movement.

The main problem I constantly see on a daily basis concerning core training is performing exercises that use the core as the primary mover. The core is NOT a primary mover; as mentioned before, it is all about the transfer of force. It should therefore, not be used in isolation – because it very very rarely ever happens in daily life. Rather than spending much time focusing on crunches, back extensions or other core-isolating exercises, work yourself up to exercises such as the marching glute bridge, squats, deadlifts, woodchoppers, etc.

Don’t get pigeon-holed into thinking that core strength is all about the abdominals. Train your core functionally and in combination with other upper and lower body movements.

Stay tuned for a great functional core workout.