This morning, I did a workout that hammered the entire body, but focused a lot more on the core than I generally do during my regular workouts. Note that this does NOT mean I don't work the core every time I work out - what I'm trying to say is that I concentrated especially on the core today. I do this from time to time, and am absolutely delighted with the progress I'm making.
Remember that the core is one of the most important parts of the body you can train. Train nothing else but the core, and you'll have good all round development - but concentrate mostly on the "beach muscles" as most of the gymgoers do, and you'll end up as a disconnected bunch of bulky muscles which lack real strength and power.
I could give you a host of reasons behind why core training is so important - and indeed, that would a great topic to cover in a future email, but for now, bear in mind that the core is responsible for connecting your upper body to your lower body - and for facilitating transfer of power as well. If you've got a weak core, there's simply no way you can perform to your full potential on any decent exercise.
Anyway, as I said, today was a "core training" day for me and it went well. One of the exercises I did in my routine was straight leg hanging leg raises for reps - while holding for time - this ONE exercise alone is enough to bring the average gym goer to his knees within a matter of minutes. I did some other exercises as well - exercises that are ignored for the most part - and then finished things off with gymnastic bridging - another superb exercise that I cannot endorse enough.
On that note, when most people talk about bridging - they are referring to the neck bridge, or the "wrestler's bridge". And while these are great as well, the gymnastic bridge is a fantastic variation that you can use from time to time - or use exclusively as a "finisher" if you wish. For those of you that are interested in learning the gymnastic bridge, be sure and grab a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness where you'll learn how to do it the right way. Do NOT attempt these unless you have the form down pat - this goes double for all exercises, but especially tough core exercises.
And make sure you make core training a regular part of your routine - not just something to do "at the end of your workout", or "something else to do after the cardio". That is NOT how to approach core training - you need to approach core training with utmost seriousness, and devote certain days almost exclusively to core training. Do so religiously, and you'll make great progress in all your other exercises as well.
And that's the tip for the day - back again tomorrow!
PS: There are many other great core movements that you can do that will give you a fantastic workout - for more on this, see Fast and Furious Fitness.