If you want to build a strong core, take a stand—literally. New research indicates that vertical core training is the most effective way to strengthen the core. So, ditch the mat and stand up because crunches are so last year. Get ready to jump, throw, lunge, reach, and press your way to a strong core
Why Vertical Works
The core muscles are critical for standing upright, maintaining proper posture, and moving the body in different planes of motion. We use our abdominal muscles when we move, whether we’re striding up a steep hill or bending over to pick up a heavy object.
Because we recruit and engage our core muscles when we’re standing and moving, it makes sense to work them under the same circumstances. Vertical core exercises move the body in multiple planes, thereby training the core in the way that we most often use it—while standing.
Vertical core exercises are “functional” movements that simulate real-life situations. In our everyday movements, we rarely use a muscle in isolation, so it doesn’t make sense to train our muscles with isolated movements such as crunches.
Vertical core exercises don’t have to be complicated to be effective. Learn to use gravity, resistance, and mobility to train your core to be strong and functional. Start with a few basic moves and you’ll be on your way to a strong core. Here are a few exercises to get you started:
This is only a small sample of vertical core exercises you can try. There is a huge variety of standing exercises that will engage your core—including plyometric jumping, hanging knee raises, leaping, bounding, throwing, twisting, and even incorporating balance tools such as the BOSU ball. Get creative. Ask a trainer for help if you need it.