We want to build real strength. This requires focused, technical, and difficult exercise movements. Building core strength has often been a misguided adventure. By focusing on working only the abdominal region, we are missing a very important part of what makes up our core….the hips and lower back. Typically, athletes are taught to do very high repetition movements such as crunches and leg lifts. Throwing in some high rep stuff for endurance and conditioning is fine but when you really want to improve your strength, practice tougher movements. Overhead squats, L-sits, jacknifes, levers, planches, and windmills should all be on your list. Why are these movements so much more effective? The all require stabilization, an element that is lacking when simply lying on the floor. Not only that, they involve the other areas that make up your "core" such as the shoulders, back, hips, and legs.
These movements should be visited consistently. Like many exercises, you may need to start with progressions. Stay tuned for a post on the variety of "L-sits" and their progressions.