Best Non-Traditional Core Exercises for a Strong, Stable Core and Flat Belly

Our core may well be the most important part of our bodies and the most influential facilitator of movement. The core is much more than just your washboard ab muscles and is made up of every muscle in your torso. This includes not just the superficial muscles, but the deep internal muscles supporting the torso and the spine. The core muscles are (or should be) involved in virtually every movement of the human body, providing support and stability as we perform complex activities including exercise and activities of daily living.

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The Fitness Trend of 2018

The past several years have seen an undeniable shift from “traditional” gym workouts to more “unconventional” fitness methods like functional fitness, Zumba, yoga, and even pound – an intense cardio workout inspired by playing drums. When I say unconventional, I really mean different than what we’ve seen in the past 50-100 years. What we call traditional weight lifting really is a new phenomenon when we look at the course of physical activity and fitness over human history.

Compare the “bench press,” an exercise that came about in the early-mid 1900s to Yoga, that has at least 5,000 years of history and possibly as much as 10,000 years. Or compare it to “functional fitness,” a trend involving compound, multi-directional movements that mimic activities we do (or should be doing) in daily life and that the mainstream likes to paint as NEW. Functional fitness was actually the primary, if not only, method of fitness from the beginning of human history until “traditional” weight lifting pushed it off the scene. From our hunter-gatherer ancestors to Ancient Greek warriors to 1800s “gymnastics,” functional (and often NECESSARY TO SURVIVAL) movements like walking, running, sprinting, balancing, jumping, lunging, rotating, climbing, lifting, carrying, throwing, and catching dominated.

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Honestly, when was the last time you actually caught something that was thrown at you? When was the last time you climbed something – a tree, rope, pole, etc.? If you’ve kept up with the functional fitness trend, maybe not too long ago. But for most of us, this probably was when we were kids.

So what does this have to do with the fitness trend of 2018? A reversion to getting physical activity and improving fitness through performance of NATURAL HUMAN MOVEMENT is taking place, and people are discovering how good it can feel to move properly. So my number one trend for fitness this year is any and all kinds of functional movement whether inspired by dance, music, or Spartans. These types of workouts can most often be found in group settings at boutique gyms and fitness studios so head to the closest one and lets get moving!

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Disclaimer: As always, proper form is essential. Activities like CrossFit have gotten a bad rap over the years even though the actual movements are great for you because of the lack of emphasis on proper form and the intensity of the workouts before individuals are physically ready. If you are interested in beginning a new program, please consult a fitness professional to design a program that is right and appropriate for your current fitness level.