I am not sure who coined the phrase “CORE,” but it has to be clarified and amended. Mark Verstegen says it best by defining it as the CORE Pillar system. Meaning, it is not just your abs, if it was then why wouldn’t we just call it your “abs” instead. It consists of your hips, abdominals or midsection, and shoulders. The pillar system allows you to have a stable foundation of which to move from. Verstegen says to think of the CORE as the wheel hub and the movements are the spokes. You can’t have the spokes move without the hub being in place and stable. On a technical note, Dr. Stuart McGill, renowned back specialist, states that to keep your spinal discs safe and functioning you have 30 degrees of flexion and/or extension; anything beyond that is a compromise of the spinal column. So, you will never hear me advocate doing 100 crunches or sit-ups. There are ways to do them safely, but we first need to get the foundation built first.
We have found that the true functionality of the CORE is actually the prevention of movement. If we look at some of the CORE muscles you will notice they are not intended to be crunched or curled like a bicep or hamstring. Those muscles are long and straight with the ability to both eccentrically and concentrically contract. On the other hand, take a look at your abdominal muscles; if they are clearly defined you will see what people call a “six pack.” They look more like puzzle pieces or building blocks. The function of them is more for stability to protect the lumbar spine and allow the rest of the limbs around it to function.
So lets break this down further. We have defined the CORE system by not just one muscle, but a series and combination of muscle groups. Now we need to show you how they are supposed to function with the right movements. We will do this by breaking it down into the muscle groups above; hips, abdominals, and shoulders. Each group will have a series of movement progressions that can be used for effective and safe training.
**Please note that “real” CORE training will not and is not intended to slim down or get rid of a “gut.” It is the foundation in which we function and perform. If you want to get rid of your “gut” stay tuned for the nutritional and fat loss section. You will learn how to get rid of it by doing no; that is right zero (0) crunches!