A Strong Core

Written by: Keriann Hill, Health & Fitness Program Manager

When we think of a strong core, most of us visualize a sculpted 6-pack abdominal section formed by doing a bunch of crunches every day. I’m here to set the record straight and tell you NOT to fall into the trap! In the fitness world, chances are that if it’s too good to be true… then it really isn’t true. Yes, I’m talking about the graphics with a caption claiming you’ll “Get a 6-pack with these 5 ab exercises,” or the video showing “Fat melting exercises for a flat stomach.” Read on for some core myth-busters and to learn the truth.

The Facts:
  • Your core is made up of multiple muscles which support and stabilize your spine as well as coordinate movement of your spine and limbs.
  • The visibility of abdominal muscles comes from having a low body fat percentage which is achieved by creating a caloric deficit (burning more calories than you consume).
  • Spot reduction, or the idea that working a specific muscle will reduce the body fat in that area, is a myth. This means those crunches and other “core/ab-focused” exercises will not reduce belly fat.
  • Your core is exercised and strengthened from more than just crunches and planks. Running, walking, push-ups, squats, single-leg or single-arm exercises, and many other exercises will work your core too!

This month, our contributors dive deeper regarding the importance of core strength, what muscles make up the core, how to exercise your core, and what foods to eat to maintain a healthy gut!

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