This is an excerpt from Man's Guide to Muscle and Strength, A by Stephen Cabral.
I can remember a few years back when the latest fitness craze was standing on a bosu ball with one leg raised in the air while juggling a pair of dumbbells. Well, maybe the whole functional core training fad didn't take it quite that far, but I did occasionally see trainers having their clients do things that left me scratching my head.
For example, although training on an unstable surface can be useful, rarely is there a good reason to jump up on a stability ball and try to do two dozen squats. That exercise would carry a high risk and produce few benefits in terms of strengthening your core or legs when considering a risk/benefit ratio.
A better choice would be to pick functional core-based exercises based on their movement patterns. By doing this, you will ensure that you're targeting every muscle in your core to strengthen and tighten the entire area.
Your core consists of many muscles and muscle groups that work to stabilize your spine, shoulder girdle, and pelvis when flexed. Although your core is defined in various ways depending on the source, it typically includes the muscles of your torso, hips, and neck—basically everything but your limbs and head.
By having a strong core you are better able to stabilize your body and provide a strong foundation on which to fire explosive energy to your limbs. This energy yields amazing force and speed when used in the gym or on the playing field. For that reason, training your core is crucial.
I've designed a four- to six-week program that you can use to strengthen your back, abs, obliques, and every other core muscle in your body. The result will be a stronger back, a tighter waistline, and better-looking abs that you can feel good about showing off when you remove your shirt.
I've designed this workout to include three distinct types of training stimuli to maximize your efforts while in the gym. You'll be going through a strength and power day, a hypertrophy workout, and a high-intensity circuit. This program is just plain fun to do!
Unless your main goal is bodybuilding, you'll enjoy the four to six weeks off from bench pressing, lat pull-downs, and heavy squats. You'll have plenty of time to get back into those important movements again, but this Core Power Workout will provide your body with some much needed periodized time off from those exercises. The three workouts will also help to mold you into a more well-rounded athlete. Make sure to use table 8.1 and tables 8.2 and 8.3 on page 128 as a basis to track your workouts.