Core Work: Do you really need more of it?
Every single week I get someone messaging me saying “I need more core work”
I always answer – “No you don’t, you’ve been doing planks for 7 years yet you’re weak as sh*t everywhere else. Train your whole body and stop eating sh*t to improve your stomach. Capiche?”
The way I look at it is – You can have a really strong core but if you are weak everywhere else then what are you meant to do?
Your core should be strong to support the rest of your body through movements like Squats, Deadlifts etc.
What I would be much happier seeing you do is spend time understanding how to use and brace your core through big movements, how to utilise it to keep your spine stable and safe (exactly what your core is there for).
Your core ties your upper and lower limbs together so you can work harder with the big movements. The #1 movement I see where people cannot engage or simply don’t know how to use their core is the Pushup.
Few reps in and most dip their lower back so they’re hanging out of their spine instead of engaging their abs to keep their back neutral.
Once you learn to to actually engage your core and use it, you will be far better able to target it through exercises then.
Overall, understanding how to brace and engage your core will be of far greater value to you than spending another 12 months doing planks and wondering why your back gets sore after doing them.
Unfortunately, people obsess about core work thanks to mainstream magazine nonsense selling you a magic program with a picture of a lean guy/girl telling you that’s how the got ripped.
Truth is, they train hard in the gym (and most have used drugs).
10-15 minutes of quality ab work a week is lots to improve your core. And I stress “quality”
The rest of the time, you should be focusing on getting stronger in your big lifts and learning how to engage your abs and brace them for when you really need them.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn how to engage your abs first.
Once you’ve that mastered, you can look at adding these exercises in:
- Hanging/Lying leg raises (keep them controlled)
- Turkish Situps (my favourite)
- Planks (with proper ab engagement)
- Hollow Holds
- Bird Dogs
- Pallof Press
- Suitcase carries
To drop bodyfat (so your stomach looks good), clean up your diet, work on getting stronger, add some muscle mass and throw in some conditioning work. But most of all – BE CONSISTENT. (if it took 3 years to gain the weight it won’t just take 3 weeks to get rid of it)