Did you know that the good ole' pushup can offer you a core workout that is almost unparalleled in intensity?
If your like most folks, it's a good bet that you don't generally think of pushups as a "all in one" core workout. Sure, people know that pushups work the upper abdominal region as well - but what most people really believe is that pushups are a good workout for the chest and arms - and not "much else". Tell someone that he can get a fantastic core workout in with pushups, and pushups alone, and he'll likely look at your as if you were nuts.
And given the general knowledge that people have about pushups, proper form while doing them, and what type of pushup to do - tis understandable, but pushups are SO much more than a chest and arm workout that it's not even funny. Sure, you work your arms and chest well during the movement - but to label the pushup (or to think of it as) as a pure "chest builder" would be to do it a gross disservice. Pushups work the entire body as a unit - especially the core - and some types of pushups can rightly be termed as "pure core movements".
Remember that when I'm talking about core training, I'm not just referring to the "abs". I'm NOT referring to the six muscles at the front of your stomach - I'm talking about hips, lower back, entire abdominal region, butt, thighs and hamstrings - all of which make up your core. Do a pushup - a simple, regular pushup in proper form and under control - and you'll quickly see that pushups are so much more than just an arm and chest builder.
And while the regular pushup does a super job of training the core, there are some variations that go way beyond where the regular pushup ends. For one, we have the "table" pushup where you position yourself on your hands and feet as if you were a table - hold - and repeat for reps. This variation is hell on the core, and is enough to pulverize even advanced athletes - but form is of utmost importance. Do this one in right form and for the right number of reps, and you'll quickly discover what I'm talking about when I say some pushups can be termed as "pure core movements".
Another one is the "extended pushup". This baby is a killer exercise - I'm yet to meet someone that can bang off 25 perfect reps in this one. You do these with your arms out in front of you, and while you may think that arm strength is the key to success in this one - it's NOT. You push up and down with core strength; and you build super core strength from this one movement alone. Do it with proper form, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
That's two that I just mentioned; but there are plenty of other such variations as well that I mention in Fast and Furious Fitness. I included these in my daily routine today - and believe you me, my core was shaking like an earthquake hit it after a few good sets. And you may be surprised to hear that each set did not take more than a minute or so to complete - 10-15 minutes of core torture in all, but that was plenty.
If your just starting out, I don't recommend doing them until you get good at the regular pushup as they are far more advanced and thus much tougher to do - but once you get good at doing regular pushups, work into the advanced movements as well.
So, what are you waiting for? Incorporate a few "core pushups" into your daily exercise routine, and watch (and FEEL) your core change before your eyes!
PS: Always remember that form is of paramount importance. Do NOT attempt either one of the exercise above until and unless you learn correct form, or you run the risk of getting injured. I detail proper form for these (and other types of pushups) in Fast and Furious Fitness - grab a copy NOW, and you'll be on the road to a strong, healthy, and conditioned core in no time at all!