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Do You Really Have Core Strength?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Blue Hair, Nice Skirt, Strong Abs - He's got it all

Yes, he's weird. Nice abs though!

Kymberly: If you can do 100 crunches, have super abs, or can hold a hover for 3 minutes, does this mean you are core-some and awesome?  For many, a strong core is defined by flaunting a 6-pack (yes, you heard envy in my tone. Sure, I have a 6-pack… under my 12 pack).  How can you know whether a certain look or ability translates into true inner strength?

Alexandra: Wherever your belt touches, that is your core, which means abs and back working together to keep you strong, braced and upright!  Include your entire torso, and you have a good idea of what the “core” defines, besides just “fab-abs.”  Many of our students believe they are very strong in their core, sometimes because they have well-developed chests and shoulders. But…..does the ability to bench press your mama really mean you have a strong core? Maybe it just means you have a big chest and a small mama!

Let’s find out:

K: Did you try the move? Tougher than it looks, right? This exercise really tests whether you initiate movement from the center of your body or depend on your extremities to get you places. (For those of you who like high techy terms, you want to start movement proximally, then have it translate distally, not the other way around). To use a crunch as an example, if you start the move by lifting your head, cranking on your neck, or throwing your arms to get going, you are depending on the ends or extremities of your body to get some action in the core. Such action means you are working from the outside, in. If you can set up your body in a good crunch position and first engage the midsection, which then moves the shoulders and head off the ground, you are working from the inside, out. Movement stars at the center of the body and radiates out to the hands, feet, and head.

A: All I know is that I radiate from all my insides and outsides!. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go roll around on a mat somewhere. Quietly, by myself. In a darkened room with no mirrors or cameras.

Core-licious readers: Do YOU have core strength? What’s your favorite core move?

Photo credits: Creative Commons

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16 Responses to Do You Really Have Core Strength?

  1. Amy October 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Yikes! Where did you find this particular torture move? I found back-to-front totally doable, but front-to-back is going to take some practice before I inflict this on a client, smiling all the while I demo the move!
    Amy recently posted..Success is not StaticMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit October 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

      Hey Amy:
      I think we made it up. I’ve never seen it anywhere. But it could be we got it at one of the IDEA conventions. Let us know when you achieve the front to back!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Wrong & Right Way to Run in PlaceMy Profile

  2. Meg Root October 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Well, I knew I was “spineless,” but now I found out that I am also completely “core-less”. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I have a lot of work to do. As for my favorite core exercises, since my back is quite problematic, I find my favorite exercises these days are the ones where I keep my spine in neutral. I love quadruped exercises where you lift the arm and opposite leg, and also plank variations. They help me feel strong, but without any residual pain. Love the videos. They are fun and funny and informative. Thx you two!

    • AlexandraFunFit October 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      Yes, this particular exercise is actually harder than it looks. I give it to my U students, and they flop around so much that I call this exercise the Floppy Fish!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Wrong & Right Way to do Oblique Ab CrunchesMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit October 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

      Spineless and Coreless? Are you an amoeba? Wow, you must have great form to be able to do the plank with a problem back. But that’s no surprise. I love the quadruped ones too. At a training this weekend, we had to hold the plank for 3 minutes on Day 1, and for 5 minutes on Day 2, so I’m a little “over” the planks for a few days!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Preventing Shin SplintsMy Profile

  3. Kris @Krazy_Kris October 12, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    i will NOT do this in public… maybe with my nephews – sneakily – so no one knows what its supposed to look like :)
    Kris @Krazy_Kris recently posted..Dancing With the Pips | Music MondayMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit October 12, 2011 at 8:54 am #

      Excellent plan! Luckily, as a teacher, I only make my students do what I can do. So this one is fine, but you won’t find me doing a 5 minute plank! Have your nevvies do it too! They’ll be surprised when Auntie Kris beats them at it!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Wrong & Right Way to do Oblique Ab CrunchesMy Profile

  4. Colleen Shibley October 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    I use to have a strong core about a year ago, this is just a good reminder that I need to get back at it.
    Colleen Shibley recently posted..What’s Your Weekly TV Line Up?My Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit October 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      Hey Colleen: Now I’m totally curious as to what happened this past year. Yes, we love this exercise because it’s both an assessment AND an exercise. Crunches just don’t do much for strength. Good luck!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Inner Thigh Exercises to Rock Your JeansMy Profile

  5. LeeAnn October 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    I definitely need to work on my core…along with the rest of my body too! This was a very informative post. Thanks for sharing!
    LeeAnn recently posted..Fighting Writer’s Block With Five Question FridayMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit October 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

      Hi LeeAnn:
      We just did a training for 18 hours over the weekend for the Les Mills CXWrx (the people who created BodyPump) and we didn’t know till we got there that it had the description “intensely challenging.” We crawled home Sunday night. So now I guess we’re joining you in increasing our core strength!
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Preventing Shin SplintsMy Profile

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