Real “core” training!

 In Strength

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By: Matthew Thornton owner of Meridian Fitness and Titan Up Fitness

The popular word these days is “core training”.  Every body wants to focus on their midsection thinking that’s the way to a lean, sculpted midsection.  Yes it is true that doing core specific exercises like sit ups, wood chops with a med ball, and various pilates movements will strengthen your core, but it’s not the key to a slim, ripped physique.

First of all let’s define “core”. 

core  (kôr, kr)

n.

1. The hard or fibrous central part of certain fruits, such as the apple or pear, containing the seeds.
2. The central or innermost part: the hard elastic core of a baseball; a rod with a hollow core.
3. The basic or most important part; the essence: a small core of dedicated supporters; the core of the problem. See Synonyms at substance.

This is according to freedictionary.com and you can see how you can relate this term to humans.  Ones core is the middle part, front to back, of a persons body.  One can improve this area by doing certain movements that train the specific muscles in that area.  But that to me is NOT the best way to improve ones core.  You are only as strong as your weakest link and for a lot of people their weakest link is their low back, abdominal area, and obliques (side muscles of the core area).  Now doing a 1000 sit ups a day will help strengthen this area, but it will not slim the area reducing body fat. The best things to do if you really want to slim your waste line and improve the muscles in your core is to eat right.  Abs are made in the kitchen and not in the weight room.  To a certain degree the weight room does of course help burn calories, but if you don’t have your diet in check then you will never lower your body fat and you will never define your core muscles. The second important thing you must do is train legs!  So many men try to skip leg day because it is so hard to train legs because of the size of the muscles and the strain it puts on them.  With out doing squats, lunges, st. leg dead lifts and dead lifts you are cheating your body and not doing, in my opinion, the 4 best core exercises you can do.  Think about how much core involvement is in a deadlift movement and how many core muscle are fired. Doing lunges recruits so many stabilizing muscles around the midsection it’s ridiculous and st. leg dead lifts and dead lifts when done properly will strengthen the low back better than any pilates or yoga move by far.  The third thing and most important is to add resistance to your core training regiment.  What I mean is when you do core lifts like sit ups you should push your self to complete muscle fatigue like you would any other muscle group and if that means it takes holding on to a 100lb dumbbell while you do your sit ups to fail at 15 reps, then so be it.  This is the only true way you are going to get the best results in the shortest amount of time.  Fourth thing is do not do core specific exercises everyday.  The reason is that if you train legs hard, and you push your core muscles to failure using resistance then those muscles are going to require rest so they can re build stronger.  Train core specific 2 times a week and only do 2 – 3 core specific movements at the end of your workout as this will allow ample time for recuperation. Why train these muscles at the end of the workout you may ask it’s because if you weaken the core muscles before your workout starts you will leave your self at risk for injury.  Also you will have a harder time training the bigger muscles and not fully maximize  Theyour workout because you will be weak in your core area. Last recommendation I have to help achieve a stronger, leaner core is train with interval cardio.  The explosion and force used doing plyometrics and sprint work causes the body to relax and contract all the muscles in the body at a fast tempo, including the core muscles, over and over again tapping in to the fast twitch muscles in the body.  Why is this so important? It’s because the fast twitch muscles burn the most calories, they are the strongest and it will help keep the body balanced.  Not only that, but doing explosive exercises will keep the body rock hard,and burn more body fat without the risk of losing muscle.

So there you have it core muscles are built from training hard, getting ample rest, eating right, and exercising explosively.  Lifting heavy and pushing your body to full muscle fatigue is a very hard thing to do, but if you want to have a tight, ripped body it’s the only way to train.  You can sleep when your dead so work to failure and you will see results very quickly.  If you would like more info please email me at [email protected] or call 904-246-LEAN(5326) and set up a free week of classes so you can start acheiving the body you have alway dreamed of.

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