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Upgrade Your Abs With These "Core" Moves
by: Shawn Ferrando
Concentrating on your core will yield a tight tummy.
Concentrating on your core will yield a tight tummy.

Q: I am confused about the fitness buzz word “core” training. What does it mean and why is it important to add this type of workout into your routine?

-F. Klondike, Trabuco Canyon, CA

A: It seems like within the recent year or so you can’t open a magazine without seeing an article about core strength and training. But while you have probably heard about core strength, are you like many people who are confused about what that really means, and why it matters?

The “Core” area is the abdominal muscles and lower back which are directly related by their positioning and jobs. These muscles support each other, you cannot have strong abs without a strong lower back and training for those abs will not be as effective unless your lower back can endure the job it has of support. In turn you cannot effectively train your lower back without your abs assisting in this movement.

I would say that most people think about strong abs when we talk about the core. But really, the core consists of abdominal, back and hip muscles. I like to say everything from the shoulder to the hip.

Here are a few reasons why core strength is so important:

Power - A strong core enables you to perform weight-bearing movements and reduce your risk of injury. It will also help alleviate unnecessary joint stress. It builds back strength and helps to prevent low back pain.

Posture - Strengthening the core muscles will naturally improve your posture, which will also help to alleviate back pain.

Agility - a strong core leads to faster reaction time, better body awareness, improved coordination and flexibility. This will help you in your daily life by reducing the risk of injury and in performing everyday tasks.

Stability - a strong core means better balance, which can prevent falls and other accidents.

What is the best way to increase core strength? Exercises that require constant abdominal stabilization should be performed on a regular basis. Try doing your crunches on a stability ball rather than the floor. Even sitting on a stability ball and lifting one leg at a time will target the core. Balancing on a Bosu or wobble board and performing squats and lunges is another way to engage these muscles and enhance the exercise. Group classes such as kickboxing, indoor cycling, and pilates are great core strengthening activities.

There are several exercises and creative alternatives to building and strengthening your core. Those with present lower back injuries should proceed with caution. You should be injury free and consult a physician prior to starting any new exercise program.

949.292.1799 | 30555 Trabuco Canyon Rd. # 101, Trabuco Canyon, CA  


Owner of Shawn Ferrando Studio Fitness, Shawn Ferrando, has over 24 years professional experience in the health and fitness industry. Shawn has numerous National certifications including the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Advanced Specialization Sports Fitness Specialist, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Certified Core Stabilization Training, O.C.C. Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer, Apex Certified Trainer, AA Nutrition Education, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Indoor Cycle Certification. Shawn has extensive experience in rehabilitation training (post injury/pre-post surgery), sport specific training and is CPR/AED Certified through the American Heart Association. Shawn is also a member of the world’s largest associations of Health and Fitness Professionals, Idea Health and Fitness Association and the American College Of Sports Medicine. To contact Shawn directly, please email her at

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