The 3 Core Moves You Need to Stop Doing Now.
Sure abs are "made in the kitchen" and you can't out train a bad diet. If you've already got your food game on point or you just want to get stronger, you need to be working that six pack on the regular.
First of all — training your core is HARD. Why though? Because we don't use it! We slump in our chairs and have bad posture all day and yet when we hit the gym we expect to be able to bang out 50 crunches no problem.
MOST core moves that you're going to find in fitness magazines or that instructors may have you do in a group class are more challenging than they are going to let on. Why? Proper form is boring. There I said it. Is it the right thing to do? Yes. But it doesn't fill class spots or magazines so instructors and editors have to keep making up new things.
I absolutely CRINGE when a instructor has a class do any of the following — without giving a practical modification. So here's the deal I'm telling you and your job is to pay it forward. Tell a friend. A coworker. Your mom. Let's make a pact here and now to STOP doing these moves mmkay?
Why they suck. The downfall of most core moves is that they put a lot of unnecessary strain on the back. So not only are you NOT going to get strong you're going to end up injured. Super.
What you should do instead. If you're looking for stronger obliques I am a big fan of side plank with a hip dip which can be modified to fore arm and knees and works for any level of athlete. If you HAVE to do Russian twists for some reason modify by keeping feet on the ground, squeeze knees together and twist only as far as you can to keep good form. If you are holding a weight, keep your elbows bent and hands close to the chest. The straighter your arms, the farther the weight is from your center of gravity and the harder the move gets.
Lying leg hovers / Leg raises.
Why they suck. It takes TREMENDOUS core strength to be able to hover your feet 6 inches off the floor. This is NOT a beginner move so stop doing it. If your core is not strong enough, you will start to feel your back arch off the ground making the exercise irrelevant. Also "lower abs" are not a thing. Anyone telling you that this move is working "lower abs" gets the side eye from me.
What you should do instead. If you start with legs at 90 degrees, lower as much as you can while still keeping your back GLUED to the ground. The second you start to feel your back arch is the position you need to stay in. If that means you can only lower a few inches that's fine — it's the safest way to modify and keeps the focus on your core. Another option is bending the knees [think reverse table top] and tap toes to the ground like this.
Why they suck. Again — if you lack the core strength to pull yourself up you are going to end up with a sore neck and back. Not to mention your actual CORE is only really working at the beginning of this move.
What you should do instead. Plank variations like plank pike are great for contracting and holding tension in the core. You can do plank pike with a stability ball, sliders, or even just on the ground.
What is the best move though?
Why it rocks. It takes a lot of concentration and it might feel like you're not doing much at first but it focuses on a. keeping tension in the core and b. functional movements while maintaining tension.