Core Strength: The 2 fundamentals of core training

Jul 15, 2020

Core training isn't doing sit ups, crunches and other spine bending exercises because these movements are done at the expense of your spine. Overtime, as these exercises damage the spine your core strength and stability will reduce. Core training means following two fundamentals;

  1. The torso is designed to prevent movement
  2. The limbs are designed to produce movement

Why Sit Ups & Crunches are not core training

These two exercises violate the first fundamental because they bend the spine. Side bends, back extensions and twists are the same, they produce movement of the spine rather than prevent it. These exercise slowly diminish the structures of the spine that lead to injury. This doesn't mean your spine cannot or should not bend, twist or extend but under the load of an exercise it increases the risk of injury. 

The 2 fundamentals are based on how your body is built

I have pulled these fundamentals from thin air, if you look to your anatomy it begins to paint a picture of how your body is best used.

Your spine

Your spine is made up of vertebrae with a vertebral disc in between and each can be considered a joint. These joints are called cartilaginous joints that are slightly moveable. They have small ranges of movement and are surrounded my small muscles.

Muscles of your spine

Muscles of the body have different jobs but we lump them all into the same category of creating movement. The deepest muscles that are closet to the spine are designed to give feedback about its position and posture. The next layer of muscles are designed to hold the internal organs in place and create an intra-abdominal pressure. The top layer are designed to hold the spine in place when subjected to load like lifting. 

All these muscles are held together by a fascia that helps them work as one unit rather than individuals. This creates a sum that is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Your limbs

At the top of legs and arms are ball and socket joints, they connect your leg to your pelvis and arm to your shoulder girdle. These joints are known as freely moveable joints. They have large ranges of movement and are surrounded by bigger more powerful muscles. 

These bigger more powerful muscles are designed to produce movement and your core muscles hold torso in place and spread stress across your entire core.

Core Training

It begins with static core exercises like planks and side planks because these exercises are easy to perform and give you a chance to learn bracing your core. As your bracing improves you can begin to add movement of the arms and/or legs on top.  I suggest starting with either arms or legs and then move onto whole body movements.

You need to train your brain as well as your body

Starting this way gives you the opportunity to learn how to use your body, too many people throw themselves it exercises without giving themselves this. The more you can learn about how to use your body and put it into practice the better.


  • Sit ups and crunches aren't good core exercises because they violate the first fundamental of core training
  • The first fundamental: The torso is designed to prevent movement
  • Planks and side planks are better options, start with these
  • Learn how to brace your core
  • Add movement after 

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