Most people do abdominal crunches and sit-ups because they want lean, visible abs that “pop” and look great at the beach, but they’re going about it all wrong. In this post, we’ll show how a simple shift in perspective paired with some strategic changes can deliver much more than a great physique. You’ll also learn some of the most effective natural movements for building and strengthening your abs and core musculature, along with a MovNat “Core Combo” Workout to put them all together.
You can’t crunch your way to six pack abs. It’s just not that simple. And yet, people all over the world slave away – doing hundreds, even thousands of crunches – with very little to show for it. And worse still, research tells us they may be damaging their spine.
Others, will perform planks and other core exercises because they heard these are more “functional.” And while this kind of thinking is a step in the right direction, there is much more to be desired and acquired when it comes to physical training.
There’s a big difference between movements the human body can do, and those it is meant to do. And when you start moving the way your body is meant to move – naturally – great things start to happen (e.g. abs).
The problem is that too many people try to force an adaptation instead of allowing adaptations to happen naturally (i.e. as they’re meant to). So, while crunches, sit-ups, and planks are useful exercises that do deliver some fitness benefits when used properly (and many of our students use them regularly), there are much better options for those who want more than just a lean, strong, functional core.
The good news is that whenever you train MovNat, you are not only improving your fitness, but your movement skill as well – making you more capable for the real world. The physique benefits that result are just the icing on the cake.
So, if you’ve been struggling with crunches or other core exercises, give these natural movements a try. Even in this small collection, you’ll notice many different elements that will contribute to a leaner, stronger core.
6 Natural Movements for Core Strength, Stability, and Rock Hard Abs
This is a very small selection of natural movements that are exceptionally good for building and strengthening the abs and core. When used properly, all of these natural movements will contribute to improving your movement skill, fitness, and yes, even your physique. There are many other natural movements like these, and the reality is that almost all natural movements involve the core muscles to some degree.
Front Hang To Foot Pinch
Side Swing Throw
MovNat Core Combo Workout
Instructions: Practice the following movements in a circuit format, completing up to 5 circuits. You can practice the movements for reps (e.g. 5-10 reps each) or for time (e.g. 30-45 seconds each). You can also modify the movements to suit your skill level (e.g. use a lower surface during the upward jump, or do a Knee Raise instead of a Foot Pinch). Rest only as needed (push yourself!).
- Front Rocking
- Tripod Transition (on floor or while balancing)
- Upward Jump
- Side Swing Throw
- Front Hang to Foot Pinch
- Shoulder Carry
Here at MovNat, we believe and teach that a beautiful physique comes as a result of moving naturally (i.e. in accordance with nature), the way your body is designed. But that is not the primary focus of Natural Movement Fitness. The focus is on becoming capable through increased competence (e.g. movement skill), and capacity (e.g. physical conditioning), among other things (e.g. mental toughness). The result? You not only start becoming fit for the real world, you start looking fit, too.
Ready for more?
1. Axler, C.T., & McGill, S.M. (1997). Low back loads over a variety of abdominal exercises: searching for the safest abdominal challenge. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29, 804-811
2. Karst, G.M., & Willett, G.M. (2004). Effects of specific exercise instructions on abdominal muscle activity during trunk curl exercises. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 34, 4-12
3. Callaghan JP, McGill SM. (2001). Intervertebral disc herniation: studies on a porcine model exposed to highly repetitive flexion/extension motion with compressive force. Clinical Biomechanics, 16, 28-37