Core Stability Exercises How Much Is Too Much?
Optimising core function is really a delicate balance of exercise selection, volume, frequency, and intensity.
Unfortunately, I don’t know that we have a perfect (or even close to perfect) answer with respect to all of these factors, as everyone is different. Consider the following:
1. Flexion-intolerant backs. When you can’t bend forward easily, must be treated differently than extension-intolerant backs, those that don’t arch backwards well.
2. Trained athletes probably need a less work because of their training but can handle a greater intensity and complexity – and need to prepare the core for fatigue over an extended period (e.g., soccer game, tennis or rugby match).
3. A sedentary individual probably needs a greater frequency of low-intensity exercises.
4. In-season athletes must be careful not to do too much work and pre-fatigue the core before competition.
5. Those hyper mobile individuals with loose joints are likely to need a greater frequency of core work to wake up muscles and their nerves.
6. General exercises in a weight room or rehab setting must be complemented by sport-specific activities in the appropriate volume. When general volume goes down, specific can go up – and vice versa.
7. People with a previous history of injury – or known red flags – may need to do more just to maintain.
8. Everyone’s definitions of “core” is different. I view the core as pretty much everything between the knees and the shoulders – but the truth is that poor core control can also lead to elbow and foot/ankle issues; should we include those joints as part of the equation?
9. Everyone’s definition of “core stability exercises” is also different. Rollouts – an anterior core stability exercise – but I’ve never had more soreness in my anterior core than after doing heavy push presses. Simply holding a weight overhead forces our anterior core to work to prevent lumbar hyperextension
As you can see, the “how much is too much” question is a big, fat, hairy one. Ask 100 fitness professionals and rehabilitation specialists, and they’ll all have different answers.
Just make sure you do both active and static abdominal exercises.
Endless crunches, curl ups or sit ups just won’t give you a strong, balanced core!