For those of you who have ever felt sharp pains from your core when you laugh or have had a hard time getting out of bed in the morning since another sit up is just out of the question, I would like to have a word. For those of you who slouch at your computers or desks all day long or do your homework with your laptop while sitting on your bed, I would also like a word. If you are concerned about how your middle is gonna look in the summer sun or how to ward off muffin top or beer gut, I would especially like a word.
Here’s the deal: After challenging myself to do 30 minutes of core work every day for a week (mostly in Abdomen Class, as they call it here in Spain), I was in a good deal of pain. However, I was starting to adapt. After day 3 or 4, my core was hurting a lot, but by day 7 I was starting to feel stronger and stronger. I resolved to find out if it is possible to work your core too much. I typed this question into search engines and spent time sorting through articles from reputable sources and personal blogs. My conclusion? It isn’t possible to work your abs too much, per say, if you work them the right way.
How is this possible? Well, take about 10 seconds to think about all of the things you need your abdominal muscles for. Pushing, pulling, lifting, lowering, balance, posture… It’s easy to come up with multiple reasons on the spot. Science has also shown that when doing other exercises like a lunge or an overhead press, the core is the first part of the body to contract so that we can complete the exercise with good form. The stronger your core is, the better form you are likely to have while performing other exercises. Core exercises are especially emphasized in sports where running and endurance are called for, because having a strong core helps athletes to perform better for longer. Weak core muscles force more of the work to be sent to the arm and leg muscles, causing fatigue much faster.
Do you ever complain about back pain? How many people do you know who do complain about their backs hurting? Statistics about back pain are all over the place, some studies even claim that more than half of working Americans seek medical assistance for back pain. According to the Mayo Clinic “Back pain is a common complaint. Most people in the United States will experience low back pain at least once during their lives. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.” Back pain is often caused by poor posture and/ or a weak core. The more research I did into core strength, the more I realized that having a strong core can help prevent other injuries.
We often think of core exercises as being boring… You lay down on a mat and cruch, cruch, crunch. But we now know that simply doing crunches is not enough, we have to train the core from every angle: front, back, side, top, bottom. There are hundreds of core exercises that you haven’t discovered yet. The best thing is that having a strong core is a common goal, so websites are overflowing with information about how to achieve what you want. whether it be a smaller jeans size, a six-pack, a bikini body, etc. Check out this link by Fitness Magazine to a ton of challenging core exercises. Remember, when working the core it’s always important to combine your efforts with a good eating and cardio plan in order to get your best results.