Functional training: Four tips to build a stronger core

Functional training: Four tips to build a stronger core

To build a strong core it takes a lot more than just doing ab exercises.
Abdominal exercises such as sit-ups and crunches are highly publicized, but the truth is that the abdominal muscles play a limited role overall in core strength.
A functional approach to training your core is the only way to strengthen the many other muscles in your torso and ensure an overall strong, stable midsection.
There are lots of functional ways to build up your core muscles, but here are four of the best:

Exercise ball – Use an exercise ball to not only perform traditional ab crunches, but other stretches and as a base for many traditional lifts.
You can use an exercise ball as the bench or seat to do many standard lifts, such as dumbbell bench presses, curls, pushups, etc.

Kettle bells – Following a kettle bell workout plan will not only firm and build your overall muscles, but will especially strengthen your core because it’s engaged nearly the entire time while using kettle bells.

Dumbbells – There are many dumbbell exercises that will strengthen the core muscles, such as side bends and even on press lifts the core will be engaged.

Use your own body weight – Finally, use your own body weight to stretch and build your core. Pushups, the Plank, squats, back extensions and lunges are some great examples of core-strengthening exercises.

The core is at the ccnter of everything we do. So take care of your core and it will take care of you – and remember it takes a lot more than just ”ab work” to build a strong midsection.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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