Myth Buster – Crunches for core
Maybe it’s the wrong time of year to talk about this kind of stuff but I’m going to run my mouth now for a good few minutes.
Now lots of you out there must think that doing crunches all the time is the best way of improving your core. I mean obviously, if your stomach is hurting after a million crunches then naturally you must think ‘yay I’m getting those abs of steel!’
I can tell you now that if you didn’t do all those crunches everyday you can still achieve a strong core! Your core is your foundation and doesn’t matter what shape you’re pulling whether sober or not your core will be working to stabilise body movements! This just means that your core is working in a multi directional way rather than constantly in a ‘bending’ manner as you would do in a crunch situation. Always carrying out flexion based exercises such as crunches can actually cause more damage than good as you are putting a lot of stress on to your spinal ligaments and eventually they will lose their elasticity and become a lot less efficient in their work. Basically what I’m saying is that if you annoy your tissues they’re going on strike – bye bye spine!
Like I said before your core is a multi directional system and it only makes sense that if you challenge it in different ways you will benefit a lot more. By carrying out big compound moves such as squats and press ups you will be stabilising and improving core strength and endurance. You’d be surprised that how much your foundation is functioning when carrying out press ups! Not only that, but by doing compound exercises you are working many other joint systems in tandem which all relate back to core stability. Lots of fitness experts strongly believe that your core stability ranges not only from your abs but to your upper and lower extremities. These peripherally active stabilisers all help your foundation and in turn your central foundation helps peripheral stabilisers. To put all this in 1 sentence – Your joints help each other to stabilise and carry out optimum functional movement. That would have been much easier to type!
So if you guys and girls are wondering now what kind of exercises you can do for improving the core then here are some:
1.Boxing or a form of martial arts
2. Compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, chin ups, press ups,
3. Power based exercises such as clean and press, snatches, Kettle bell swings
4. Dynamic bodyweight movements such as hand walks, bear crawls, spider walks, burpees
5. Single leg exercises such as single leg deadlift, single leg shoulder press, and single leg jump squat
Now there is no excuse to try some of those exercises listed above out. Who knows you might enjoy some of these and progress on to more challenging exercises. Now don’t these exercises sound more interesting than doing lots of crunches again and again and again! Keep the workouts different and vary the exercises to keep tricking your body and you will find it a lot more beneficial.
All this talk about core and exercises is fun and interesting especially when you actually try them out but remember if you do suffer from chronic back pain with or without leg pain then you should adhere to an appropriate programme given by a trainer qualified in this area. Yeah don’t be going on and swinging kettle bells left right and centre if you do have back pain. Don’t worry you’ll get there after an appropriate programme. Like I said before having a strong core can be brought about with a variety of exercises but the most important part is to achieve this without any excess pain or discomfort!