The Best Core Workout

Is Insanity the best core workout?  It depends on your current fitness level …

The Insanity workout is an excellent program to decrease body fat and increase total body strength.  However, there are a few things you need to consider before jumping in to the Insanity Workout.  First, are your joints strong enough to endure high impact movements? Second, if you have joint pain you will need to modify the movements to decrease risk of injury.  That’s where I come in, I can help you modify the Insanity workout or recommend the appropriate program in my online personal training program.

Watch this video to learn how to modify some of the best core movements in the Insanity workouts and then read below to learn more about the best core workout and how you can create a strong core with causing spinal injury.

We are regularly bombarded with core workout exercises claiming to create “six pack abs”,  many of these exercises are ineffective. Some core workout exercises may actually lead to lower back pain, and do little to actually strengthen the abdominals.

Learning how to do the right core workout for your specific goals is crucial to your long term spine health

When it comes to the proper form,  you must understand the difference between posterior and anterior pelvic tilt.  When I teach a core workout I cue my clients to  focus on posterior pelvic tilt.

Best Core WorkoutsProne (off the ground core movements) are excellent for developing good spinal posture and increasing core strength, especially in learning how to tilt your pelvis backward (posterior pelvic tilt). Many individuals stand with their hips tilted forward (anterior pelvic tilt) due to tight or excessively shortened hip flexors. This position may exaggerate the arch in the lower back and increase risk of spinal injury.

So in my opinion some of the best core workout movements are prone (on the ground with your stomach off the ground/push up position) with a focus on tilting your pelvis backward.

There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when performing core workout movements.  First,  why are you doing the core movements?  Most people believe that doing abdominal crunches will “tone” the stomach and make it look more flat.  I would like to dispel a few prevalent core workout myths and help you develop a functionally strong (and flat) core.

The Best Core Workout for Total Body Health

Myth: Performing a high number of abdominal crunches is the best core workout and will develop a flat, toned, “six pack”.

Best Core WorkoutTruth: In a landmark study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, it was conclusively shown that sit-up exercise training is NOT the best core workout and does not decrease the diameter of abdominal adipose cells, abdominal subcutaneous fat (skinfold thickness) or abdominal circumference (Katch et al., 1984). Therefore, you cannot use ab exercises to selectively lose abdominal fat. Instead, to reduce fat content at a given body site, your total body fat will have to be altered.

Myth: The Best Core Workout is a cardiovascular workout (walking, running, elliptical)

Truth: According to Dr. Len Kravitz (University of New Mexico) electromyographic (EMG) analysis of the abdominal muscles has demonstrated that the abdominal muscles are quite inactive during walking on a flat surface (Sheffield & Major, 1962). The rectus abdominis and external oblique muscles exhibit little electrical activity in an erect posture.  To create a strong core it is recommended to do  specific core workout exercises and movements.

The best core workout is a functional core workouts.  Functional movements will help you perform better in life and sport.  Traditional crunches will not create a strong, flat six pack.  Learn how to train smarter, not harder and you’ll have a functionally strong body that will enable you to stay active for the rest of your life.

The bottom line is to always be mindful of your body and don’t push through workouts if something hurts.  Sometimes the workouts that you think are the best core workouts can be the worst thing for your health. Maintaining proper form is the is one of the best ways to stay injury free and on track with your goals.  I can help you modify the Insanity workouts if you need some guidance.  Please feel free to contact me with questions.

Click here to learn more about my monthly online coaching and accountability programs.  Everyone needs a coach and I would be happy to help you reach your goals.