Rethink the Core: Strength not Looks

Let’s talk about the sexy and flashy word: CORE.

What pops into your mind when someone says, “Let’s do a core workout?” Or, maybe you are striving to achieve a flat washboard stomach.

flat stomach.jpeg

Guess what?

A flat washboard stomach or even a 6 pack does not equate to core strength.  Yes, you heard that correctly. You can have a ripped, chiseled abs and have weak core.  

So, what does make a strong core to ward off low back pain and a weak pelvic floor?

Your deep internal core muscles: those muscles are transverse abdominus, multifidus, pelvic floor and I like to throw in diaphragm into this category since it has a direct impact on the function of the pelvic floor. These muscles are responsible for walking, running, and twisting motions.

How do you strengthen these muscles?

As women, these muscles take a beating (plus others) during pregnancy. It is hard when you are getting into shape or rehabbing from having a baby to only want to focus on the “vanity” muscles and not the true exercises and muscle which will free you from your everyday aches and pains.

So, ditch the sit ups and crunches for now. Let’s rethink the core. To developing functional, deep base strength and don’t worry, flattening of the stomach will happen a lot faster!

Here are a few exercises to directly target the deep internal core muscles:

Modified Prone Plank & Prone Plank: If you have recently had a baby (within a year) or are beginning to workout again, start with Modified Prone Plank. 

Side Plank w. Band: Can be completed without a band. 

Bridge w. Band: Can be completed without a band. 

Start with sets of 6 and hold each exercise for 10 sec. Do this twice a week.