12 Core Stability Exercises That Do More For Your Abs Than Crunches Ever Could
Fitness professionals have varying opinions on how to train for optimal health, but one thing they all agree on is the importance of a strong core, which you can get from core stability exercises. You've probably seen info about core strength on TikTok or heard your favorite instructor refer to it as you hold a plank for what seems like an eternity, but you may not know exactly what having a strong core means — or how, exactly, to get one.
Your core is like the roots of your favorite plant. Strong and sturdy roots keep the plant stable and support the weight of the plant as it grows. The same can be said for your core, which is often considered the source, or root, of all movement. Every time you bend down to pick something up off the ground, reach for something in the back seat of your car, or lift something overhead, your core is working. "The well-trained core is essential for optimal performance and injury prevention," Stuart McGill, PhD, explained in a 2010 review in the Strength and Conditioning Journal. No matter your fitness goals, having a strong and stable core is crucial.
The thing is, not every abs exercise builds deep core stability and strength. Crunches, for example, work your rectus abdominis — the superficial muscle on the front "six pack" section of your abs — but do nothing to target your deep core muscles (aka the transversus abdominis), the ones key for a strong foundation. To really activate those muscles, cultivate a mind-core connection, and build functional strength, you'll need core stability exercises.
Not sure what those are? To help you out, POPSUGAR tapped personal trainers and physical therapists for their go-to core stability exercises. Check them out ahead.