Functional Core Workout
Who doesn't love a good core workout, right? While crunches, leg lifts, and sit ups will make your 6 pack feel the burn they aren't nearly as effective as other core exercises. Let's dive a little deeper to learn the importance of a strong core and how to properly attain it.
What is the core?
Your core is made up of several muscles around your entire trunk. You have your rectus abdominis (which is your '6 pack'), your obliques, transverse abdominis, and the muscles throughout your back. Each of these muscles has a job and importance, but are often misunderstood. Let's keep going...
Why have a strong core and what are the benefits?
Your core assists you in EVERYTHING. Have you ever hurt your back and it totally puts you out for a few days? Ya, that's a part of your core. You use it to lift, walk, run, jump, carry, sit and so much more...literally everything more. If the core is neglected to be trained and strengthened properly, then other areas of the body will suffer to make up for the weakness. Not only that, but more severely (and very commonly) a weak core directly correlates with injury and as many of us know, being injured is anything but fun. It is so important to train our bodies to be great at every day life. Exercise is not just for looking good but feeling good and being able to perform every task with more ease, comfort, and less risk of injury.
What do I do?
Ah, I am so glad you asked. In the attached YouTube video, I gave an example of 14 different functional core movements, all of which are amazing for core strength, endurance, and functionality. When I say the word "functional" what I mean by that is movements that have a specific purpose, and in this case movements that will transfer over in to every day life. All of our exercises should be functional- WITH PURPOSE.
These exercises are unique and different compared to the usual "ab sesh exercises" you see Susan doing at the gym, right? Did you know that in your typical crunches, leg lifts, sit ups, etc. the muscle that is doing most of the work is in fact, NOT your core or 'abs'? It's your hip flexors!! Your hips are performing that motion of bringing your upper body towards your lower or lower body towards your upper body (cue crunches and leg lifts). Come on, you know what I am talking about. Your abs might be burning but your hips are on fire!
Try something different to target the actual core rather than hip flexors and reap all the benefits! BUT PLEASE, like I stressed in the beginning of my video, remember that you cannot spot reduce fat. These exercises alone will not just shred the fat away from your core (if you missed that segment of info, then go back and watch it!)
You don't have to create a whole workout designed around your core, that's definitely not necessary. However, feel free to include these exercises in any of your workout routines. Try 10-15 reps 3-5 sets per exercise. These make a great warm up to effectively activate and warm up your core.
Make sure that when performing these exercises your core is tight, you are breathing to engage, and your spine stays straight.
Check out our challenges to learn the important aspects of a healthy life that will help burn that belly fat... because now we know, an ab workout isn't the trick!