Core Training: Not Just for Back Pain and Bikinis

Are you ready to talk “core training”? Because I am. I’m sick of people misusing the term “core.” I’m sick of someone having back pain and being told they just need to strengthen their core, I’m tired of hearing you say you need to do core work in order to look good in a bikini, and I’m really tired of hearing people being told that no matter what exercise movement they’re doing that they need to tighten their core and brace their abdominals.

I’m sure that when you think “core” you think abdominals. You definitely think about the “six-pack” abs, and you might think about your obliques, but I’m sure you don’t think about anything other than those. However, did you know that your core stretches from your toes all the way up to your skull? Yes, that’s right, it’s a full-body chain. Take a look at this:



Notice the blue shading? That’s one continuous line of fascia (a connective tissue) and muscles that runs from the skull all the way down to the foot. Yes it includes your abdominal muscles, but it includes so much more than that. What anatomy guru Thomas Myers refers to as “The Deep Front Line” actually attaches to your toes and your jaw bone. So…how are you training your core?

Is your health & fitness professional taking the whole body into consideration when training your core? Or, are they simply telling you to do planks? 

How many of you have been told by your trainer or other fitness professional that you should be holding your tummy in or bracing your abdominals while moving or lifting? Why aren’t they telling you that you need to tighten your calf muscles and neck muscles the entire time? Shouldn’t those muscles now be considered part of your core? Sure looks like it to me! But can you imagine your instructor telling you that you need to keep your neck muscles tight throughout the whole class? NO WAY! If you heard that, you’d run as fast as you could in the opposite direction (or at least I HOPE you would!). 

The point of this blog is simple: Treat the body as a unit, as a whole. Don’t “spot” treat or “spot” train. I don’t believe you have a “knee issue” and a “hip issue” and a “neck issue.” No, instead, you have a system issue. I think the picture above makes that perfectly clear. It’s time we stop thinking about your “core” as anything other than part of that system.

QUESTION: What do you do for “core” training?