How do you get a great core? Do you want a flat stomach? Do you want to see your abs? Do you just want to have a stronger core to prevent back pain? What are the best exercises to do? 

Today I am going to tell you the truth about “core training”. What you should be doing to prevent back pain and how to flatten your stomach. 

We have all seen it before and its engrained in all of our brains, to get a flat good looking stomach we need to work our core, do lots of crunches and sit-ups to get those six pack abs right? Well unfortunately what 90% of people think training the core is, it is not beneficial for most people. If you have ever been to one of our classes you may find we do not do a lot of crunches or sit-ups. Why is that? I will tell you. 

When we look at how muscles work, our rectus abdominis is the six pack muscle we all want, but what is its function? Its function is flexion. It allows us to sit up or flex forward. Now does this help with back pain? Think of what your spine is doing during a full sit-up or a crunch when you lift up too high. It’s always bending forward. We have little disks in-between our vertebrae and this motion can eventually push those disks outward (not good) over time. This is telling me thats sit-ups will be hard on my back. 

So what do you do? Keep your spine in a neutral alignment. Keep it straight besides the natural curve in your low back. What exercises work your core and keep your spine straight? Planks, side planks, v sits, oblique twist, bridges etc. These will still be working the core while keeping our spine healthy. 

Now the other added benefit is these exercises help with strengthening your back! Why? Because we are now working the deeper core muscles, the “transverse abdominis”. This muscles connects to our spine and wraps all the way around our body! By strengthening this deep muscle it will help strengthen our back! This will also help you create a long lean torso opposed to a crunched up and shortened midsection.

I am not saying don’t do crunches at all, they can have benefit if done properly and making sure your spine remains neutral. This week incorporate more planks, side planks, v sits etc. and tomorrow I will tell you about how the pelvis can help flatten your stomach and the best way to shed some unwanted fat from the midsection!