With my beginner clients, I focus more on core exercises (abs, obliques and back) as well as balance and stabilization exercises so I can safely progress them to more challenging exercises. Most movement emanates from the core so I believe it is important to make sure it is solid. Doing dead-lifts, squats, and barbell shoulder presses with a weak core is just asking for injury. I avoid full sit-ups because most people already have overactive hip flexors from sitting all day.
As others stated, I now get my core work through my regular workouts but still get plenty from teaching group exercise classes.
I do, mostly because my core currently isn't strong enough to do some of the yoga poses I'm interested in learning. I do core/ab/back exercises a couple of days a week, just like my other strength exercises.
current weight: 0.0 under
Fitness Minutes: (65,585)
11/23/13 6:50 A
"Toning" is marketing muscles to women who are afraid if they pick up a barbell, they'll leave the gym looking like She-Hulk. It doesn't happen, what does happen is you get results. Lifting Barbie weights does nothing but waste time.
81 Maintenance Weeks
Fitness Minutes: (96,050)
7,314 11/23/13 6:45 A
The abdominis rectis (abs) is just one muscle involved in bending forward. The 'core' is a much broader group of muscles in the torso. Straightening or arching the back, bending side to side, or twisting will use a whole range of core muscles other than the abs.
An analogy would be the difference between the quads (thigh muscles) and the entire lower body group - quads, hamstrings (back of thigh), glutes (butt), calves, etc.
Like all strength training, you should rest the core 48 hours between sessions. There are myths out there that you can allegedly work the core every day, but the truth is that core muscle fibers recover the same way as muscles in any other part of the body, and you should rest 48 hours between sessions.
Planks are one of the best core exercise available, as it works a whole range of core muscles, not just the abs. Add in something like bicycle crunches for the twisting motion, and you are pretty much done with the core in just those two moves. Core work does NOT burn belly fat, so a 30 or 40 minute core workout is ineffective and a waste of time.
Zorbs makes a good point - squats, deadlifts, pushups and pullups might classically be thought of as lower body and upper body moves, but also work the core. Interestingly, recent research suggests that of all the exercises you can possibly do, pull-ups are actually the exercise that work the abs the hardest.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
current weight: 178.0
Fitness Minutes: (3,686)
11/22/13 2:46 P
I do a bit of core work but a lot of it comes from the fact that compound exercises (squats, pushups, pullups, etc) work my core a lot already. What I'm trying to do now is build up to doing planches (planks with your feet off the floor) and L-sits (hands on a surface, feet out in front not touching the floor). I may not ever be able to do either of them but the process is definitely working my core a lot.
current weight: -0.8 under
Fitness Minutes: (52,359)
1,875 11/22/13 1:05 P
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