Skip The Abs For A Better Core
I may sounds like a broken record here but it is something I am asked almost weekly. How do I get a stronger core and flatter tummy. I touched on this on a previous post but a flatter tummy comes from a healthier diet. Working our core has benefits in making it stronger, not flatter. That message is something the media has created to sell workout programs with false promises that doing these "ab blasting" workout will actually reduce belly fat. Let's speak the truth when I say, that is not true. Plus, these plans often prescribe a boat load of sit ups and crunches. These are probably one of the least effect exercises for develop a strong and functional Core. . Those exercises focus highly on our Upper Abdominals, which in many of us are dominate to begin with. With shifted pelvis's and collapsed rib cages as a result of how we stand and spending too much time sitting. Many of us have overused Upper Abdominals and lack function in our trunk.
So How Do I Develop A Stronger Core?
Remember Core is found hips to shoulders and 360 degrees around. Therefore, that's a lot more ground to cover than just our abdominals. We have glutes, chest, back and shoulders to consider. Building stability in our core can be done by learning to properly master a squat. Getting our posture down. Fixing inbalances between our chest and back. All these require recruitment from our abdominals. Keep in mind, that many of us have weakness in the pelvic floor. I do suggest spending time working on strengthening that entire region which does include lower abdominals and learning how to properly brace your core.
Some Exercises You Can Use.
I have already mentioned it but work on develop a strong and proper squat. The Goblet squat is a great option to work your core more in a squat. You could add push ups to your routine, spending time working on pulling like seated rows. Spend time working on rotation to build power, anti-rotations are one of my favourite for this. Working on stability, a Pallof Pass is a great fundamental movement to work on correcting your core and building strength. These are just a few of my favourites but often over looks as exercises that work the "core" Strengthening your core may take a little perception changing. I get asked a lot about planks, and although I do like them. I think it is important to understand that they need to be executed properly and many postpartum Mom's should not be planking unless they have been cleared to do so. It can actually hinder the recovery for Diastasis Recti (Abdominal Separation) Speaking to a Physiotherapist who specializes in Pelvic Floor Health can help you assess this.
What's My Point.
My point is, the more you spend on perfecting the large compound movements and building stronger function in your truck. Those abdominals will only continue to benefit. You don't need to spend time doing a 100 sit ups every day. Your spine will also thank you. Too many sit ups and crunches causes to much spinal flexion that can lead to other postural discomforts. Focus on Core work that provides Function. Build a core that will actually serve you and improve your quality of movement.