Crunches for Core Training?

Often when I start training a new client they will have asked for better core strength. 

Then after a few weeks training I’ll ask them how they’re finding the training, what they are enjoying and what they may want to do more of. That’s when they’ll say-“ I want to work on my core more……”

Their training so far will have included things like Weighted Squats, Deadlifts, Over head press, Kettlebell swings………all of these movements require you to use your core! However they require you to use it as part of using your whole body so it learns to switch on whilst hip hinging, pushing, pulling etc. 

So much core training we see is using the abdominals in isolation either static or with very little movement across the rest of the body. That doesn’t transfer that well to sports performance; riding or otherwise!

Don’t get me wrong, I still include some of the more traditional core work in my sessions, classes etc but usually as a way to break down a breathing and recruitment pattern or to focus on ultimate control of small movements in the torso. It’s more accessory work than the main focus. 

The real “Core Strength” training occurs in the big compound movements when they are required to activate as part of a whole body stabilising movement pattern. 

When you ride you don’t use your abdominals in isolation. You use them alongside a stable pelvis and shoulders, force absorption through the whole body and perhaps small movements in the arms and legs. And you’ll hopefully be breathing throughout all of this too! 

So, it makes sense to train in a way that requires your core to work whilst performing other things such as a movement pattern, maybe force absorption and of course Breathing!

If you’re looking to improve your core for riding think about the whole picture in your training. Start with basic movement patterns such as Squat, Hip Hinge, Push Pull. Also consider Force Absorption, perhaps your reflexes and sure add in some abdominal work.

But don’t think you haven’t done a Core Strength session because you didn’t do a Sit up or a Plank!

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