Core Training Myths and Truths
Core training is important, but what does core training actually mean?!
Training the core is always a popular fitness topic. Recently, RD coaches have been talking a lot about core training in an effort to educate our members.
Do any of these core myths sound familiar?
Check out how we think about core training in these four examples!
Myth #1: Training the core means training abs and obliques.
When we think core we automatically think about chiseled midsections lightly dripping with sweat.
Truth #1: The abs and obliques are PART of your core but there is much more to core training.
For us, we follow the advice of two trusted professionals, Mark Cheng and Charlie Weingroff. Charlie says the core is everything between your ears and knee caps. Mark Cheng references the four knots of Chinese medicine, the shoulders and hips, and that the core is everything in between.
This means there's more to focus on in core training than just the stomach area. Include all of your trunk muscles, not just the ones you can see in the mirror. All the space between your hips and shoulders, all the way around, needs to get strong, too.
Myth #2: Training the core means focusing on trunk flexion or rotation.
If a 6-pack is the classic image of a strong “core” then these are the classic exercises you see people perform? Picture crunches, sit-ups and Russian twists.
All of these exercises “burn” but they’re actually putting your spine into compromised positions.
Truth #2: Core training means moving limbs around a stable spine.
Core training is meant to enhance your life!
When is your core used? Picking up a bag of dog food, carrying groceries or getting up and down off the floor. All of these examples are you, maintaining a stable spine as your limbs do something.We want your core training to reenforce a stable spine for your life outside of the gym.
Myth #3: Progressing core training means more weight!
We tend to treat our core like a bicep. Do you want to see your abs, do more weight! Stacking more plates on the crunch machine or do a heavier Russian twist.
Truth #3: Progress training by maintaining a stable spine, moving the limbs from static to dynamic
Although weight may be involved, core training progresses by taking the body through different postures and positions. Explore exercises lying on the floor like the deadbug or side planks, try exercises in quadruped like crawling, then movements in half kneel from ropes to halos.
To "progress" training, or to keep challenging the body, embrace these positions then move your limbs. Half kneeling ropes could be an option one day. Another day could include 4-point breathing. Constantly varying your posture and position, then moving the limbs in different ways is key to a strong, reactive core.
Core training can also be used to restore movement. In more specific situations, appropriate core exercise have the ability to help us move better with the appropriate alignment, posture and breath. The important thing here is to test and retest. Try to touch your toes for example, then do a deadbug. Are you closer? Sometimes a "mobility" limitation is not truly caused by a lack of mobility as much as it is a lack of stability and control at a joint segment.
Myth #4: Core training is a separate day or happens naturally.
We all know the feeling. We look at our workouts for the week and we think, "I'll just go in and do some cardio and abs today." Then we proceed to skip the workout completely and "take a rest day." The opposite also happens where we figure it will take care of itself because we already lift heavy.
Truth #4: Core training has a purpose.
Core training is an essential piece of getting stronger. At Results Driven, we use it to fill the gaps to:
1) Help improve member's general movement deficits;
2) Earn higher level movement;
3) And to restore authentic human movement.
Instead of treating core training like a stray cat that you feed when it's around, adopt core training as part of your fitness family. Incorporate truth #3 into your weekly routine. EVERY DAY do something for your core. Use it as a third movement in a super-set paired with 2 strength moves or combine it with carries or a finisher. Either way, it doesn't have to be a separate entity, embrace it!