You've heard it before: work on your core muscles so you can have everything from better balance to better cardio performance. But what if there was no benefit to having strong abs besides a celeb-worthy midsection?
Three studies reported in The New York Times show that you may or may not be getting what you want out of your ab exercises. One study looked at a group of college rowers and found that those who did eight weeks of core prep before a rowing test didn't do any better than those who didn't. Another study looked at healthy volunteers and found there was no correlation between a sturdy core and their ability to perform in a bunch of tests that included sprinting, jumping, and balance tests.
Read on for more after the break.
But another study looked at a group of people who had weak ab, back, and oblique muscles, and found that the ones that were put on a six-week core training program could run significantly longer than those who did not strengthen their core before the test.
These studies all looked at different groups of people — from well-conditioned athletes to volunteers with weak core muscles — and all found differing results. But some experts agree that having a minimal amount of core strength is all you need, and you can strengthen these muscles while doing other total-body workouts; no need to waste time doing hundreds of crunches (unless, of course, you want to flaunt those abs at the beach).
Why do you work out your core: to perform better athletically or is all about the quest for the perfect six-pack?