Your core muscles are important for your golf swing, but they’re also important for your resistance to injury and balance. Also, let’s face it, for a lot of people the “six-pack” abs look is the holy grail of fitness for a lot of people.
Unfortunately, many popular exercises for your core can actually be damaging, and almost none of them offer the fat loss and increased definition promised by so-called experts.
Here are six exercises that can damage your posture and aren’t the best way to strengthen your core:
Yes, the classic, simple crunch. It does strengthen your abs, no doubt about that, but it only works one muscle group (the rectus abdominis). As a functional fitness trainer, I’m not a fan of any exercise that works one muscle group in isolation. Exercises like these can lead to imbalances that result in a hunched-over posture and an injured back.
Supine leg raises.
I’m sure you’ve done these before. This exercise is where you lie on your back and repeatedly raise your extended legs, kind of like a reverse sit-up where you lift the bottom half of your body rather than the top. This exercise works the hip flexors more than the abs. As I mentioned before, so much of your life is spent with these muscles in flexion that this doesn’t help your body balance and strengthen the core muscles you need for golf and life.
The Ab Roller.
This is an infomercial stand-by that advertises amazing results on your abs, but it actually works your hip flexors and arms more. It doesn’t provide enough resistance to truly build strength, and supporting your body with a rigid piece of equipment like this won’t build muscle balance or agility.
These punishing exercises are a staple of sports training, but here’s the thing: this is another exercise where you’re actually doing more work with your hip flexors than your abs. It also pulls on your lower back without actually strengthening it.
This exercise is where you sit on your bottom, lift your feet slightly off the ground, and then twist left and right, tapping the ground on either side of you with two hands. They’re a real grind…literally! Your limber spine is not meant to rotate in this fashion, and repeatedly doing this exercise actually damages the facet joints in your spine, leading to back pain.
No, not the two-wheeled kind. The kind where you rest your lower back on the ground, strain your neck to lift up your head, and twist your body back and forth and kick your legs in the air like you’re either riding a bicycle or throwing a temper tantrum.
Many of your day-to-day activities involve flexion of the abdominal muscles. In fact, while you are sitting down your abs are in flexion, and that constant flexion can lead to a shortening of the ab muscles and an imbalance that puts you at risk for injury. What these no-no exercises have in common is that they worsen the problems people often have with their posture. If you contact me, I can show you how to strengthen your core without worsening your posture or creating imbalances that can hurt your golf swing, and even worse, hurt you.
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