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Five ways to diversify your core training

Use movements of daily life

Westfahl advises that eliminating crunches should not require the development of complex new movements to train the core; rather, it is an opportunity to further simplify core training.

As a starting point to this approach, she recommends “trying to mimic motions that you do in daily life. So that might be a motion that you would do to pick up a bag of groceries.”

To turn that into an introductory lower-back exercise, Westfahl suggests beginning in a standing position; twist to one side and bend down to the toes, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

“Another one that people can resonate with is how many times they squat throughout the day,” she said. “You get in and out of your car, you get out of a chair, use the restroom… there are tons of different ways that you can potentially squat throughout the day.”

To take advantage of motions of daily life, Westfahl recommends focusing on using the core to stabilize the spine during such common motions as squatting or bending; Koshari adds lifting, as well.

“Recognize that pretty much any movement you could do in daily life is using your core, whether you realize it or not,” she said. “In order to make [core strength] functional, the goal is to become better at the movements you’re already doing throughout the day.”

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