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Busting the Myths of Core Training

Training your core, the part of your body that connects your arms to your legs, has become a major focus in fitness. A strong core will improve your balance, posture, overall strength, and athletic ability. However, the physiology behind effective core training has been lost in bustle of machines, fad fitness programs and infomercials which promise a trim waist and perky backside with 4 easy payments of $19.99. Today, I will bust a few of the myths surrounding core training.

Myth #1: The core another name for the abdominals.

The ‘core’ is made up of all the muscles which attach to the pelvis, hips, and spine, not only the abdominals. The core includes the diaphragm, pelvic floor, abdominals, back muscles, hip flexors, hamstrings, buttock muscles, and muscles of the neck.

Myth #2: Doing abdominal crunches will result in a strong core.

Crunches target the rectus abdominis, the most superficial abdominal muscle (also known as the six-pack). It is only one muscle of the entire core complex. Over-strengthening this muscle will lead to poor posture and back problems. Aim to strengthen all the muscles of your core for a balanced body.

Myth #3: Training your core will give you a six-pack.

As I expanded in my previous article, core training targets your muscles, not the surrounding fat. A sensible diet and exercise regime will reduce the belly fat and expose the muscles underneath.

Myth #4: The best way to strengthen your core muscles is to isolate them with specific exercises.

Core muscles are essential for all movements, including walking, running, turning, bending, pushing and pulling. They should be active and strengthened during all exercises and movements. Use the drawing-in exercise to activate your core. While sitting, standing or laying on your back, inhale and let your belly expand. As you exhale, hollow your abdominals by drawing your belly button in toward your naval. At the same time, contract your pelvic floor (think about stopping the flow of urine). Hold for 10 seconds. Practice breathing while still drawing in your abdominals. You should initiate all exercises with the drawing-in maneuver.

Myth #5: You should train your core every day.

Your core muscles are no different than any other muscle- they need rest to get stronger. You should use your core everyday (while you walk, run, turn, bend, and so on), but you should train them every other day. This will give your muscles time to recover.