You don’t need fancy exercises to build core strength. If your desire is to inspire the muscles around your spine and midsection to fire, squat.
A Kaplifestyle reader reached out to me to ask about a good core routine for beginners. Waltz into any fitness center and you’ll find folks twisting with cables, doing various forms of crunches with medicine balls, leg lifts and scissor kicks, and holding these all in the name of developing core strength. Whether you’re looking to develop these stabilizing muscles in the name of obtaining a 6 pack or looking to prevent injury, maintain flexibility, and increase your power, everyone is interested in a stronger core.
My answer isn’t going to come as a surprise. I’m an advocate of performing any training techniques consistently, so you won’t catch me slamming any form of exercise. However, if you mine true power and strength between your thighs and chest, the properly executed squat is the perfect exercise. From strong-athlete.com:
“One of the best ways to activate the core muscles is during squatting. When you squat, your bodies own natural weight belt kicks in, stabilizing and strengthening your core so that it doesn’t collapse into a pile of muscle and bone.”
Think about what occurs when you drop your hips and ass towards the floor while maintaining strong posture with hundreds of pounds resting on your shoulders. Your stabilizing muscles have no choice but to fire and contract. Our bodies are computers and remember what we just asked of them. The input is, “get strong and powerful, because I’m going to demand you support lots of weight.” Your system complies.
This is true independent of your goals.
Suppose your mission is to acquire abs. Maybe you simply want the muscles in your back to recover faster. In either scenario, hormones can help.
Squatting is a compound movement, meaning you use multiple joints and tons of different muscles to perform the action. Research shows that the more muscles you engage during training, the more hormones will be released in the body to stimulate growth and recovery. Your body naturally releases hormones such as testosterone and Human Growth Hormone during hard squatting sessions. These hormones will help the muscle fibers in your legs rebuild, recover, and grow bigger. However, the large release of hormones can also help to improve the recovery and growth of other muscles in your body that have been broken down from training.
Faster recovery often means less pain. It also means your body will be primed to train sooner meaning you’ll be ready to input more commands. You’ll feel better and get back into the gym. As a beginner, creating the consistent habit is more important than anything else. It’s a beautiful cycle.
If squats truly won’t work for you, and variety is your bag for core work, I won’t judge. You might like this product. If you need me, I’ll be in the corner under the bar.