• chrisskidmore

Core concentration

Updated: Dec 19, 2018

So, we all know we should do more sit ups right? "Engage your core" they say, "improve your posture" they say, "get a six pack". So we dutifully do sits ups, and sign up for gym classes called "amazing abs" and "sit up to your six pack".


We all know we should do more core work. Gyms tell us, Personal Trainers tell us, holiday adverts tell us, action movie posters tell us. But why?


The fundamental reason why most of us need to work on our core is that we get paid to sit down. I’m willing to bet 50 press ups you’re sitting down right now.


When you sit, your abdominal muscles (affectionately know as "abs") are not engaged. If you do some sits ups, your abs will, indeed, thank (or shout at) you. However, when you are sitting down, as well neglecting your abs, your legs are not engaged, your quads are not engaged, you’re probably not doing a lot with your arms…you can see where I’m going with this, right? Instead of focussing on sit ups, why not DO MORE?


Doing some core strengthening exercises is a good thing - I would be wrong to say it’s not. But if you go for a run, you’ll still engage your core. You’ll also hit your legs and burn a tonne of calories. After all , if it’s the six pack you’re after, once you’ve built them you won’t be able to see them without burning off the fat too! It’s easy to tell yourself that you did a great job on those core exercises - you might even have used one of those big bouncy balls in the process - and, yes, well done! But did you do some press-ups too? What about a few squats?


photo credit: conrado

When anyone asks me about focussing on their core, my answer is always the same. The human body is designed to work as a unit, in harmony with itself, every muscle ready to do its bit. So, here’s my advice. Sure, do the ‘core blast’ class if you enjoy it (is that the right word?). But make sure you throw some leg exercises in, do some press-ups, go for a short run, don’t just focus on one set of muscles.


A strong core is absolutely vital for our health and mobility, but is only one cog in the fantastic machine that is your body.


Remember, press-ups never killed anyone. I think. I’ve not actually done the research on that, so don’t hold me to it.



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