It’s the holy grail of fitness – the six-pack – and it’s as elusive as getting your hands on a Gucci belt.
But there’s way more to your core than just those half a dozen muscles, according to Harvard research.
We’re talking nearly eight times as many.
“The advent of fitness inspiration on social media, where images tend to show overly defined six packs, seems to have contributed to the misconception that the core consists solely of the abdominal muscles, when in actual fact it involves the back, shoulders, neck and hips, too,” explains Martin Van Der Hoeven, fitness equipment inventor, research scientist and former triathlete.
“Everywhere from the Harvard Medical Journal to Men’s Health acknowledges the way to improve overall performance is by building core strength, so it’s no secret the core is the powerhouse behind every workout,” he told myBody+Soul.
Van Der Hoeven should know. Before Kayla Itsines and Emily Skye there was Martin “Mav” Van Der Hoeven – a research scientist who fell into fitness and created one of the most successful products of all time – the Abflex (selling over 10 million units within 52 global markets in just 18-months).
“It [the success of the Abflex] wasn’t planned or expected,” he says, but the profits allowed the entrepreneur to design his latest invention the Core46 – working with a team of medical doctors, kinesiology researchers and fitness experts, to develop the world’s first portable total core machine. It’s designed to activate and strengthen – you guessed it – the 46 core muscles of the body.
Sure, you might not be keen on a fancy machine, but you can take his core workout advice.
“If you just work the six-pack, especially for women, you can imbalance the other muscles around your body, creating more injuries and impacting your performance in everything from yoga, to running, intimacy and even playing with your kids,” says Van Der Hoeven.
“There’s a misconception that you can do cardio only to get all the health benefits exercise has to offer. But when you’re doing cardio, you’re only working your endurance muscles, not the fast-twitch strength muscles that tone and contour.”
And, one of the countless joys of ageing, along with greying hair and being tired at approx 9pm every night, is you lose muscle every year – permanently. “Your muscles become jelly unless you work them, or what the medical industry call ‘abdominal protrusion,’” says Van Der Hoeven. “The good thing about strengthening fast-twitch muscles is that you can get it done in less than five minutes.”
Sub-five to a 46-pack? Cya 7 minute abs.
Core46 is available from www.funtastic.com.au for $ 399 (including delivery to Australia residencies).
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fitness | body+soul