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We all want those 6-pack abs but 500 sit ups a day is not necessarily the answer. Did you know that a strong core can offer us so much more than just washboard abs?
CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program. We use functional movements performed in a wave of contraction from core to extremity. Much of our work focuses on the functional axis of the human body, along with the extension and flexion of the hips, torso, and trunk.
CrossFit’s definition of core strength is midline stabilization. Midline stabilization is the ability to maintain rigidity and stability. This translates to improved efficiency, performance, and power output. Regardless of what your sport is, the ability to keep midline stabilization is critical. When you have a weak core, energy is lost in its deflection whether you’re throwing a punch, riding a bicycle, or squatting.
Understanding the core action helps us understand it’s function. It stabilizes and protects the spine by creating stiffness that limits excessive movement in any direction including extension, flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation. In terms of strength exercises in CrossFit, midline stabilization is the most important thing we focus on while performing the squat, deadlift, presses, snatch, clean and many others. The core’s responsibility is to limit movement. These movements require the spine to hold a rigid position, so the hip and shoulder joints can move with force. Complete these exercises with good form and you are training the core. Consistently increase the load of an exercise using good form and you make the core stronger.
So next time you are ready for a month long ab challenge, maybe consider taking your lifting up a notch. Add 5 lbs to your usual working weight during a WOD, and push yourself past your comfort zone on lifting days. Just make sure to focus on good core, and midline stability! Of course accessory work like planks, GHD sit ups, hip extensions, and L-sit holds all have there place too. After taking your core strength to the next level, don’t forget the real MVP when it boils down to getting lean enough for those abs to peak through…NUTRITION! We all know “Abs are made in the kitchen!”