Quick read: I think core training is vastly over-emphasised and should be a secondary consideration at best.
Core exercises, when programmed, should be specific and progressive in the same way as any strength training.
Long, much more interesting read:
You know the drill.
At the end of a training session or class, you do 5-10 minutes of core.
That’s just the way it is.
That area between your pelvis and ribcage needs extra special attention because…
It doesn’t naturally know how to stabilise and protect our back and abdominal contents?
See, the thing is, your “core” is generally pretty damn good at taking care of things by itself.
Even more so if you lift weights or do some sort of general strength training.
Deadlifting? That’s a core exercise.
Squatting? That’s a core exercise.
Any kind of press-up? That’s a core exercise.
So why do we spend so much time and energy specifically training the core?
Back pain has something to do with it. Misguided and outdated ideas about the need for extra core stability to protect the back…
Aesthetics for sure. Training any muscle gives you a temporary “pumped” feeling and look that everyone desires at least a little bit.
End of session filler and killer…
This is a big one.
There is something satisfying about going out with a bang, so to speak.
Finishing a session with a 5-10 minute finisher pumps endorphins all around the body, leaving you with that “I worked hard” glow. It also fosters a camaraderie that is intoxicating.
f that gets you coming back for more then I’m all for it – despite the fact that you’re not getting much physical adaptation from the process.
So those are pretty good reasons to train your core – but they’re not normally the reason people think they’re doing core work.
Most people do it because they think they should, or must. That to ignore the core is to leave an essential area untouched and weak.
That is wrong.
If you do core training because you like the way it makes you feel and look at the end of a session then I am 100% behind that, but know that that’s pretty much all it is.
Now, when would I do or prescribe “core training”?
If I identify a significant lack in core strength. There could be such a detriment in core stability that it needs attention.
This can happen in pregnancy, certain injuries, and in cases of significant deconditioning. In these cases, there is a good reason to isolated core training, although the format would be far different from the usual 5-10 minute “finisher” style.
The other reason would be specific core drills for well-defined performance needs.
Plainly speaking, would being able to lift your legs higher & more often, or resist greater rotation forces, or maintain body tension for longer, help you to perform better.
And do you want that extra performance enough to put in the time and effort?
If so, then properly selected “core” exercises programmed progressively are a good idea.
But that’s the point – in both these cases the exercises selected should be carefully chosen and progressed over time.
Otherwise, it’s just junk volume added to make you feel tired.
Got a different opinion?
Then fight me…
No, genuinely, I would be interested to hear it.
I might not like being wrong but I do love learning more. So I’m willing to take the rough with the smooth.