Some trends may come and go, but core strength is always in! The core is such an integral part of all body movement, and as a result questions about core training are common in the fitness and physical therapy industries. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of misinformation swirling around. No more! I’m here to bust the most common myths about core training and give you the real deal about how to perfect your core strength, bulletproof your body, and help prevent some of the most common injuries and strains.
Myth #1: The Abdominals Make Up Your Core.
Well, not quite. The abdominals are just one piece of the puzzle. Your true core is made up of multiple groups of muscles that attach to the pelvis, hips, and spine, not just the abdominals. This includes the diaphragm, pelvic floor, deep abdominal muscles, and deep spinal muscles.
Myth #2: Crunches are the BEST Core Strengthening Exercise.
Nope! Sure, crunches have their place in fitness. However, crunches only target the superficial muscles of the abdominal group. To truly engage and train the entire core, exercises like planking are FAR MORE effective.
Myth #3: If I Have Chiseled Abs Then My Core Is Strong.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is false. Congrats on the aesthetics because that’s no easy feat! However, just because you have muscle definition does not mean there is actual stability built in the deep core.
More often than not, the emphasis is placed on the abdominal muscle group than challenging the core to stabilize your spine correctly — leading to muscular imbalances in the posterior chain aka your back.
Myth #4: Core Isolation Exercises Are The Best Way to Strengthen My Back.
Isolation exercises serve their purpose, however, your core is designed to brace and support your spine as you perform movements like walking, running, bending over, pushing, pulling, and rotation/twisting.
The BEST way to strengthen your back and engage your core is to focus on your breathing as you exert effort during movement. Strong and intentional exhalation during movement activates your pelvis floor and balances your intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize and protect your spine while you move.
Myth #5: You Should Train Your Core Daily
Not a good idea. Just like any other muscle in your body, core muscles need time to rest if you’ve been targeting them consistently. Here’s the thing, your core is ALWAYS active, however, over time it can get sluggish and weak — leading to other muscle overactivation to cover the loss of stability.
Aim to train your core 3-4 times a week for optimal results.
The most important thing with core strengthening work is to keep it up! You’ll likely feel the results before you see them. And like I said, core strength and abdominal definition are two totally different things. The amazing results you’ll see and feel will be better posture, enhanced stability, and stronger movement throughout your whole body. Definition in your entire core will come with time. Stick with it each week and you will see the results pay off!
Need more core training guidance? Get in on the Yoga Prehab® action this month with 11 Day Core Restore, which is completely targeted at gently restoring your core strength to injury-proof your spine + prevent back pain in as little as 11 days! I’ll take you through these gentle, at-home exercises, that engage the entire core so you’ll see the best results!