It is the number one request for personal trainers.
The number one problem spot for gym goers.
The number one infomercial and Gwyneth Paltrow marketing scam / promise as well:
Flat Abs / Toned stomach / 6 pack / 300 Abs
And a lean, muscular midsection is often associate with someone who is super fit, healthy, confident and successful.
So if that’s the case, then why are more workouts not singularly focused on driving more core recruitment?
Abs are built in the kitchen.
Sort of. If you train your abs, and then support your training with proper nutrition and recovery techniques, then your abs are technically built in the gym and defined in the kitchen.
Crunches are the key to core.
Core training, specifically, has evolved over the last 10-15 years potentially more than any area (plyo’s, strength training, etc). What used to be normal to do 1000 crunches in a Gold’s Gym Abs Blast class, it is now normal for that class to include 3 versions of forward and side planks, chops, bear crawls, bridges and single arm and single leg exercises. THAT is 21st century core training.
If you want to focus more on your core, then there are 3 simple switches you can make to do just that:
3 Simple Switches
1. Focus on core with each exercise
Performing a barbell front squat? How much core recruitment do you notice? Work on increasing that, specifically in every lift. Your mind to muscle connection is a huge player in this simple switch.
2. Learn new exercises
For many, they get comfortable with training the usual crunch and situp. However, embrace a few new exercises that you may struggle with, in order to minimize weaknesses, maximize strength, and balance out your core training regimen.
One of our newest additions to client programs is a few switches to side planks, windmills and core lengthening exercises. You can find a few new core variations in this 28 Day tutorial (free!) over on YouTube.
3. Make a switch for 12 – 24 weeks to decrease overall weight lifted and increase the challenge to the core
In the below outline, we have a well known formula for training lower body: squats, lunges, step ups, and some traditional core training including ab wheel, pikes, and chops.
Now, make the switch to challenge your core, potentially with a similar rep scheme like above, or for time (slowing down the motion to focus again, on the core).
For more on how to make these simple switches, consider these exercise switches below:
- Barbell Shoulder Press – > Half Kneeling Single Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Wide Grip Lat Pulldown -> Single Arm Lat Pulldown
- Barbell Deadlift – > Single Leg Deadlift
- Barbell Floor Press – > Single Arm Dumbbell Floor Press Knees at 90 degrees
- Dumbbell Row (hand and knee on bench) -> Single arm dumbbell row hands free (knees too!)
Making these simple switches should have a dramatic impact on your core. Of course, do not forget to support the newfound love of training core with that kitchen work we spoke of earlier.
So what do you think? Ready for more core?