Core. Way overused. Ask people what core means and you get 100 different answers. Core is not abs. Core is not low back, glutes, hips or any other "central body" area. Nope. Replace core with a more useful term - Midline. What is midline (or core if you are in the dark ages)? It's boot to bonnet. From your feet to your head. Training your entire body to move in a solid chain is the key.
You need to work hard. Sorry. Just doing magic circle work, planks, abs and pulsing your arms near your sides is fine if you are waaaaaaay out of shape and have a hard time bending over to tie your shoes. But, if you want to get stronger, leaner and have some agility to how you move, then you need to link together movements in a compound way. That also involves changing intensities and moving heavier loads (adding more resistance or lifting heavier weight).
Understand that your hips, glutes, hamstrings, low back (the QL, erectors) need to be very solid. As I have said, the "posterior chain" is where the magic is for most. Many people over work the quads, chest, anterior deltoid and abs. Why? It's easier! Doing posterior chain exercises like a proper lunge with weight overhead, deadlift, box squat, good mornings and glute-ham developer work takes effort and skill. It also requires you to work hard! Yep, sorry. You have to actually work with some intensity to see progress. Shuffling on an elliptical machine or doing pilates mat (all the time) won't do much for your ability to move heavier loads over broad domains.
So, compliment your routine with less routine! Mix in exercises you are not comfortable with, they are most likely what you need. For most of you, more intensity is also a big key. That is what SPINNING does. It will cause you to stabilize the midline and engage other muscles to keep your power at a high level without wasting unwanted energy. You will end up moving more efficiently and therefore doing more work resulitng in a higher calorie burn! That's worth a little bit of intenisty, right?
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