Monday, December 23, 2013

What Does Core Training Mean To You?

To me, the Human Core has always been one of the most fascinating and intriguing areas of study in exercise science.

And despite having been involved in the fitness industry here in Singapore for well over a decade, I still find the subject of Core Training or Core Fitness wildly exciting and pretty amazing.

Image of a client performing the kettlebell swing for the core
The Kettlebell Swing - A Great All-Round Core Exercise

As a fitness professional, I have been privileged to been exposed to the many different concepts, interpretations and understandings of what constitutes the Human Core and the varied types of training modalities associated with that area.

Unfortunately, most of this knowledge is NOT readily available to most of the general population - at least not here in Singapore - based on the numerous misconceptions, fallacies and erroneous training methods that I encounter frequently among members of the general public and the gym-going majority. It just seems that every other person that I come across is either misinformedconfused or simply ignorant over the whole issue of core fitness out there.

So let's see if we can make things a little bit clearer here .........

Well, firstly, what is the Human Core? Without going into the deep technicalities and terminologies associated with it, the Core is essentially made up of a large, complex group of muscles running along the - front, back and sides - of the human torso and spine. These muscles are responsible for supporting and stabilizing our entire back, spine and shoulders, and help us practically in all aspects of our daily existence: from our posture, to our balance, to our movement, to our day-to-day physical activities, and on top of these, they also play a crucial role in injury prevention.

Image of a lady performing the barbell overhead press.
The Overhead Barbell Press - Another Great Movement For The Human Core

How then should we best go about training the core? This is where differences in opinions and approaches arise even from among the most seasoned fitness experts and authorities from around the world.

For me, in line with my professional fitness philosophy and approach, I adhere to the school of thought that the Core Should Always Be Trained As A Single, Inter-Connected Unit Of The Body, due to the complexity, inter-related and integrated nature of the various core muscles.

In other words, when we train the core, we should literally FORGET about small, isolated movements like crunches or sit-ups, and instead think along the lines of big, compound dynamic movements like Deadlifts, Wood Chops, Farmer's Walk, Squats, Overhead Presses, Roll-Outs etc, complemented with selected full-body static drills like the 4-Way Pillar Move (Plank, Side Plank - both right & left sides, Hip Bridge etc).

Image of a woman demonstrating the plank exercise.
The Standard Plank - A Static Move To Work The Core Muscles

I also firmly believe that the core should always be worked through a wide range of movements, planes and angles, using as many different kinds of functional equipment and tools as possible (examples: bosu balls, stability balls, suspension trainers, kettlebells, medicine balls etc)

Indeed, training the core can be pretty complex, scientific and multi-faceted - even to the initiated, what's more to those who are uninitiated.

No wonder so many of us out there are intimidated and confused over how best to go about working our core optimally.

If you are one of them, and your core health is really a primary concern for you, fret not. I suggest you do your part first: by reading up as much as you can about core fitness from reliable and reputable sources such as: scientific publications, exercise science journals, academic papers etc........

Image of a man performing the Farmer's Walk with kettlebells.
The Farmer's Walk  - An Underrated But Excellent Core Movement

And then, feel free also to check out our Core Fitness Services and Core Training FAQs Section to see how we can help.

Remember: Core Training is BOTH a Science and an Art. As such, it has to be approached from BOTH a scientific perspective as well as from a personalized angle in order to bring about permanent transformation and lasting results.

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