There is a lot of misinformation circulating around the internet and at gyms regarding the proper way to obtain proper core fitness. So, what is the core?
The “core” remains a somewhat nebulous concept; but most researchers consider it the corset of muscles and connective tissue that encircle and hold the spine in place.
Some of the exercises commonly thought to be good for abs are actually bad for your back.
…a core exercise program should emphasize all of the major muscles that girdle the spine, including but not concentrating on the abs. Side plank (lie on your side and raise your upper body) and the “bird dog” (in which, from all fours, you raise an alternate arm and leg) exercise the important muscles embedded along the back and sides of the core. As for the abdominals, no sit-ups, McGill said; they place devastating loads on the disks. An approved crunch begins with you lying down, one knee bent, and hands positioned beneath your lower back for support. “Do not hollow your stomach or press your back against the floor,” McGill says. Gently lift your head and shoulders, hold briefly and relax back down. These three exercises, done regularly, McGill said, can provide well-rounded, thorough core stability.
Go read the article for all the juicy details. You’ll thank us later, when you are not one of those fools with 6 pack abs and a weak back.