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Core Exercises – Sit ups are not the answer!

Which core exercises are the best? Ask most people about what exercises to do for the stomach and the general response is sit ups. Unfortunately, this not the answer for well functioning and healthy core. Our core comprises up to 35 different muscle groups and sit ups are not the most important, or even the best form of exercise, always depending on clients individual requirements.


Our core muscles are the foundation for all of our movements and is responsible for good circulation, digestion, health organs and spinal stability. Weak muscles in this area can lead to Visarapatosis (when the deep abdominal wall is too weak to support the organs), especially in women), varicose veins, piles, hernia’s, back pain and other postural alignment complains. So it is so important to exercise all the main muscles of the core and not just ones from sit ups.

Muscles of the Core

The three main components of our core are:

  • Transverse Abdominis – the deepest layer and runs horizontally like a weights belt and is one of the main the keys to spinal stability and postural alignment
  • Obliques (internal and external) – run diagonally across your trunk and are responsible for twisting and side bending movements
  • Rectus Abdominis – the top layer of the abdominal wall, commonly referred to as the six pack.

Tips for healthy Core Training

  1. Always complete core exercises at the end of a workout. They are used as stabilizing muscles during most movement patterns and if fatigued can cause injury.
  2. Focus on good control of Transverse Abdominal and Lower Abdominal muscles. These require more co-ordination and fatigue faster. Some examples are Horsestance, Bird dog, Planks and drawing in the belly.
  3. Ensure that your posture is suitable for Upper Rectus Abdominis exercises like sit-ups. Some postural conditions like Lower Cross Syndrome, Forward Head Position, Kyphosis and Lordosis can worsen with this type of exercise.
  4. Don’t forget to use twisting and side flexion movements to work the obliques like Russian twists, windmills and side planks.
  5. When working your Upper Rectus Abdominis Muscles, use high intensity and high speed movements as they are predominantly fast twitch muscles fibres. They respond better to shorter repetitions e.g. 3 sets x 12 (with load, speed and intensity) not 100 sit-ups per day!!
  6. The Pelvic Floor and the Diaphragm are also part of the core muscles and should not be neglected for a strong healthy core.

These tips are general and nature and for information purposes only. If you are interested in more personalised or specific about your core health and strength, and are in the local area of Wishart, Mansfield, Mt Gravatt, Mackenzie, Carindale, and Eight Mile Plains or in Brisbane Southside, please contact Cameron on 0406 451 907. If you are interested in a FREE personalised assessment, click here

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