How and when should you train your core?
Sit ups, V ups, crunches, planks, hovers, leg elevators and more. When we talk about abdominal exercises, the possibilities are endless and available for all levels. But what is the best approach? Everyone who plays sports and trains should know the importance of coretraining. Strong abdominal muscles are crucial for a strong body, good mobility and reduce the risk of injury. While most of us know this by now, there is still some room for improvement in our execution of it.
So, what is the best way to train your core?
Past studies have compared the effectiveness of commonly used exercises, which often target one or two muscles, with integrated abdominal exercises. Integrated exercises use the same muscles as traditional isolation exercises, but they also work with other muscles of the core as well as your arms and legs.
integrated exercises are absolutely the best way
The research showed that activation of the abdominal and lower back muscles is greatest in exercises that also engage the deltoids and glutes. This happens with the integrated exercises. Studies also showed which exercises are most effective.
The three best core exercises are:
1. The ‘hover” with optional hand reach
This is the ultimate way to engage your lower abdominal muscles. Compared to a traditional crunch, this exercise is as much as 20% more effective!
2. The ‘incline mountain climber’
This is proven to be extremely effective when we talk about activating your upper abdominal muscles. Compare this exercise to a traditional hover and your ‘rectus abdominis’ activation increases by 10% and ‘external oblique’ activation increases by 20%.
3. The ‘side plank’,
The side plank is the ideal way to train your oblique abdominal muscles and creates 25% more activation than the much better known oblique crunch.
How often and when should you train your core?
According to the latest guidelines, healthy adults should focus on full strength training with some core (stability) exercises at least 2x a week. It is best to perform some core exercises at the end of your workout. If you specifically start to exhaust your core, then performing other exercises that require core activation will be much harder and the risk of injuries will be higher. The exercises will also be much less effective.