Real Core Training Part Two: Safety and Timing

Updated: Nov 2

Your core is beyond important. All movement flows from your core. So, it is a high priority when it comes to training, but it must be done safely.


Real Core Training Safety 101

1st - You need to warm-up before engaging in core training. Jogging and walking are okay ways to do this, but a dynamic warm-up that focuses on mobility and stability is better. What this means is that you are actively moving your body through a full range of motion and activating stability muscles while doing so. For example: With Lunge walks, your hips, knees, and ankles moving through their range of motion while muscles keep you upright and balanced.


2nd - Once you’re warmed up, pay close attention to your form. If your form starts to go, you need to stop. It’s not a time to be tough and gut it out. Using bad form to tough it out is a dumb idea with any type of training. As all movement depends on your core, the risk of using bad form is even higher. Even if you don't end up hurting yourself with bad form during the core training, poorly performed core training can often lead to injury in other activities.


3rd - Along the same lines, if you feel any pain during any core exercises stop. Burning muscles are fine, but a core exercise with proper form shouldn’t cause you pain.


The Timing of Your Real Core Training

A lot of people are unsure when core training should take place in a workout. My recommendation is that you stick to one of the following two options:


#1 Core training can take place on its own, independent of other workouts.

#2 Core training can take place as part of another workout, after the warm-up but before other strength and conditioning exercises.


Most of my clients tend be moms, dads, and other busy adults who are crunched for time. So, I place their core exercises right after their warm-up but before their other strength and conditioning exercises.


Why?

  • The goal of the warm-up is to prepare the body for movement, increase mobility through full range of motion, and activate stability muscles.

  • The core is important because all movement flows from it. Whether it’s creating stability for a movement or transferring force in a movement, the core should be activated prior to engaging in any other resistance training and even running.

  • In this way, your core training is really a continuation of your dynamic warm-up.

  • Lastly, because of its importance and the risk involved when it comes to doing core training with poor form... I'd prefer it to take place while you are the most fresh, energized, and ready to work.

What this might look like in the "ideal workout" situation:

  1. First, you warm-up (foam rolling, mobility drills and other dynamic movements).

  2. Next, core training (anti-rotation, anti-lateral flexion, and anti-extension).

  3. And then you do your strength training or running. (And you should end with stretching.)

In this video I will show you how to train anti-lateral flexion using the side plank with two ways to progress it (make it harder) and two ways to regress it (make it easier).




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