I remember working out before “working the core” was a massive focal point. I think many trainers have gone mad. They are almost obsessed about core exercises. I’m here to tell you, that a lot of the stuff you do works your core anyway, so no need to do a lot of the strange “swiss ball” and “balance board” exercises that you see people doing. Your time is limited in the gym, so let’s make the most of it.
[A seriously nice set of amazing female abs...Yes please!]
Why I’m Going on a “Core Exercise” Rant!
I workout in a gym and see the weirdest stuff! About 4 times a week I jump on a treadmill that overlooks the entire gym. Almost every day, I see 2-3 of the trainers have clients stand on a balancing board and throw exercise balls at them. The client catches the ball and throws it back to the trainer. The trainer then throws the ball back to the client at different spots. The idea is that the “core muscles” get stronger because they have to balance the body!
Another Strange Core Exercise Phenomenon
The exercise listed above is a waste of time for the most part, but at least it is directly targeting the core. Even worse is when trainers have people do lifts targeting a different muscle group, while working the core simultaneously. Seriously…doing shoulder presses with dumbbells on a Swiss Ball to work the core? Call me crazy, but I thought shoulder presses were suppose to work the shoulders! The big problem here is that you have to use much less weight and probably won’t approach the resistance necessary to get a good shoulder workout.
Your Core Muscles Naturally Get a Good Workout Anyway
If you do a workout that involves free weights, you do body weight exercises, and you do cardio…you are hitting your core muscles. Your core muscles stabilize your body and keep it stiff like a board while doing push ups. When doing standing barbell curls or standing military presses, your core gets worked. When running on a treadmill your core transfers the force from the legs to the upper body.
The Only Direct Core Exercise I Recommend Are “Planks”
Like I mentioned before, your core gets a solid workout naturally so you don’t need to obsess over working it. I do planks as my main ab exercise and this works the core hard. Really…it is a great exercise to get an amazing six pack and works the core at the same time. Try doing a set or two for two minutes and you will know just how time efficient this exercise is.
Here are Two Posts I wrote about Planks:
Note: I’m not slamming the use of balancing boards, bosu trainers, swiss balls, etc…I just think that it is important to get the “basics” down first. There are certainly advanced uses for these exercises in regards to athletic performance and balance. If you are limited on time and want to lose body fat as quickly as possible, I would recommend avoiding this type of stuff for a while. Your time would be better spent on cardio and strength training.