The truth About Core Training And Flat Abs
By David Grisaffi
You’ve seen the infomercials, you’ve seen the books,
and it’s all over the magazines lately…
But is “core training” really legit, or is it just
the latest fad? With so much junk on the market, and
so many false claims being made, it’s hard to tell the
difference any more.
Well, that’s where I come in, and that’s one of the
reasons I created The Firm And Flatten Your Abs program
and the www.flattenyourabs.net website.
It’s rare that a new training modality bursts out into
the mainstream and gets as much publicity and ad time as
core training has… and then to have this “new fad”
actually pan out and have some merit to it.
Well, believe it or not, Core training is the real McCoy!
However, I must warn you, that “core training” and
“functional training” can be taken to ridiculous
extremes and be positioned by the advertising media
as “miracle” cures for obesity and waistline reduction,
among other things.
Throughout my newsletters and other writings, I have to
repeat myself when it comes to the subject of body fat
The truth is, abdominal exercise – including core training –
does not reduce the body fat in your abdominal region.
What it does is to strengthen and condition the muscles
of the adbominal region. To SEE those muscles you must
lower your body fatpercentage. This is accomplished
primarily through a caloriedefict and good nutrition,
along with a moderate dose ofcardio (but not too much).
Ok, now let’s talk about core training specifically.
A lot of people have heard of core training because it
has filtered into the mainstream, with best selling books,
videos and exercise classes at health clubs and so on,
but for the people who still don’t know what core training
is, here is a simple explanation:
Training the core is a very important issue for all
people of all ages. The main point I’d like to make
is that most people do not get a good evaluation before
starting a core training program. People just jump right
into a core conditioning class, buy the DVD’s from an
infomercial, or try advanced movements they see in a
magazine and this leads to many orthopedic injuries.
I’m not saying you need a PhD in functional anatomy and
kinesiolgy, but you should know what type of exercise to
perform for your needs, as well as how much and how long
you should do each and every exercise.
There are two different muscular systems at work when
talking about core conditioning. They are referred to
as the inner unit, which consists of the transverse
abdominis, diaphragm, multifidus and pelvic floor.
These are deep abdominal muscles and they are important
to core stability and function.
Then there are the outer unit muscles, which are all
the prime movers of your skeletal system. You must get
the inner unit working well before you embark on a
hard core conditioning program.
When conditioning your core, think of yourself as a
big top spinning, with everything emanating from the
middle (core) out. If you wobble in the middle, you
will, in theory, become off balance and fall over faster.
This sets yourself up for decreased performance and
increased injury potential. Show me a weak core and I
will show you many orthopedic injuries. Remember, getting
injured should never be part of an exercise program.
To prevent injury, develop a base and concentrate on
building a functional inner unit. Protecting the spine
is high on the hierarchy of survival. To protect the
spine and its important function, we must understand
what makes the inner and outer unit muscles work. Working
the inner unit muscles simply leads to better core control
Your ability to respond to situations in everyday life
from bending down to pick up keys you dropped on the
ground, to putting a baby in his or her crib, will be
greatly enhanced when you have trained this system
The term “core training” is often used interchangeably
or in association with the terms “functional training”
or “functional movement,” although there is a distinction
between the two. Core training is actually a form of
functional training, so functional training is a broader
description of an important training concept.
Functional training is popular today as it well should be.
It really revolves around integrated, multi-dimensional
movements that sometimes change speed in all planes of motion.
I don’t want to get into a deep discussion about exercise
kinesiology or biomechanics, so just think of everyday life:
How many leg extensions or leg curls do you perform in everyday
life as compared to squats? Squatting down is a natural,
“everyday” movement. In other words, it’s “functional.”
I strongly suggest avoiding the overuse of machines and
starting to design your training in a functional manner.
I help people do this in person at my training studio
and on line at my personal training web site. Functional
training the for the adbominals and entire midsection is
foundational principle of my Firm and Flatten Your Abs
e-book which you can purchase at http://www.flattenyourabs.net
The word “integration” is also mentioned frequently in
discussions of core training and functional training.
This means that we do not condition or train by isolating
muscles. We “bring together” all the muscles of the body
to work as a unit – that’s integration. In sports training,
theconcept of integration is embodied in the maxim, “train
movements, not muscles.”
Try to do a bicep curl on a machine, then do a curl with
a single heavy dumbbell. You will notice right away that
your entire body must stabilize and work together for you
to curl that dumbbell.
There are times you have to break this law, such as after
knee surgery when you will not squat until you’ve done some
leg extensions with the physical therapist, or in the case
of bodybuilders who intentionally isolate, but those are
the exceptions not the rule.
There is nothing wrong with training just to look good,
the way bodybuilders train. Although I train elite athletes,
specializing in boxing, golf, baseball and wrestling, I realize
that most people are training to… well… to “look good naked!”
I’m not knocking bodybuilding or training for so called “vanity”
reasons. However, even if your goal is looks and NOT performance,
there is still no reason to train only form (looks) and not
function if you have a way to train both at the same time.
That is the beauty and uniqueness of my Flatten Your Abs
program. If you want flat, ripped, defined abdominals, then
you will have them! But the added bonus is that you will
also have a stable, injury proof core and abdominals that
are every bit as strong and athletic as they look! You can
get all the information about this breaktrough program on
my website here: