You hear the work “core” bandied around a lot, but few realise how important it is.

Your CORE is your body’s FOUNDATION – its more than just your abdominal muscles. Its everything attached from your a** to your armpits and supports your pelvis and shoulder girdle as well as your spine. It is the link between upper and lower body for sport – put a weak link in any chain and the delivery of power and endurance is dramatically affected.

It is also what will enable you to step up and down off a kerb in later life, pick up something from the floor and be able to tie your own shoes.

Not just about the 6 pack so.

When we are young, we mostly build our houses (our bodies) basically on a puddle or a pothole – well it is Ireland.
We tend not to start with a strong foundation and just lash away.

People in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s then come to me as PT and wonder why there are cracks in the building and subsidence.

But when you have put many years into a structure that was built on a weak foundation, it cannot expected to be strong or straight. And I am asked to “fix” it from the outside in after the fact…. sometimes in 6 hrs or less (for the record,  this is NOT possible and its not a once off hit either)

It takes time but a lot can be achieved if you are willing to commit to it and train for life not just for a day.

For sport, to reduce injuries and increase performance, you must have a strong foundation.
Like any muscle group, if you don’t use it, you lose it, so once a month/year is not enough and it needs to be trained regularly and SPECIFICALLY .
In the same way you cannot expect your run fitness to be superb by cycling 3 times a week, you cannot expect your core fitness to be superb from running.

Think about it.

The only way your core strength will improve is from doing core specific exercises.

It has to be trained regularly and appropriately for the individual. An interesting article from Competitor Running from someone who “saw the light”
Come to the light!



Planking it a whole new way. Core strength – shoulders, triceps, chest, scapula stabilisation, TVA, obliques, glutes and quads. or you could waste your life and ab curl… (image by Paul Dorrell)

Exercises using large muscle groups, stabilisation and control – choose the best for you

  • Suspension Training – TRX
  • Body resistance
  • Pilates
  • Callisthenics
  • Functional Training – Rip Stick, Bosu, Battle ropes… oh the dark side…

The only time you CHOOSE ab curl as your core go-to exercise is when you are not able to perform the more advanced level.  Everyone’s path is different. Some need 20 steps to get as far as 2 of someone else’s. It is not advisable to attempt the long base core work until you have built a base through a safe pathway, but it should always be with the aim of moving forward – using many muscles to perform and stabilise to gain the benefits.

150313 Linda Bracken  039 adjusted cropped

More traditional plank using balance challenge on quads, TVA, Glutes, Shoulders, triceps and chest to keep the body level. (image by Paul Dorrell)


All of this and more is available at The Lair. Time to get strong and be functional.

(Pilates Tri image header by Noreen Finn)