Would you like your abdominals blitzed, shaken or stirled? - No Thanks!


Nowadays you cannot turn around in the gym without having someone shout at you about the supposed virtues of this 'core blaster' programme or that 'steely abs in three minutes per day' miracle. The sad thing is, that 99% of these programmes have absolutely nothing to do with actual core work - they are designed to be extremely challenging abdominal workouts that cause a lot of pain (no pain - no gain they chuckle) and therefore produce a seemingly good result. Yet, is there any benefit in walking doubled over for 3 days after having your abs 'blitzed'? I am afraid not.

point one: abdominal work is not the same as core stability work.

True core work can be divided into two distinct and separate facets, core stability and core strength. Both are important and necessary, but I would argue that most people are in more acute need of core stability than core strength. Also, to be strict about it, one should always start by addressing the stability side, as it facilitates the improvements in strength later.

point two: most people are lacking in core stability, even if they have strong abs.

Core stability is an innate ability in infants. Babies use their muscles perfectly as they haven't had injuries that may disrupt the normal functioning of the core. The role of core stability is to provide protection for the body, namely to the vulnerable back, but equally to the pelvis, the shoulder and the hip girdle. At the same time it links the upper and lower body together producing dynamic and functional strength. Let's put it this way, if we had no core, the upper and lower body would be completely disjointed and there would be no ability for power transfer in either direction. This would leave the body a more or less useless lump of meat and bone.

point three: good core stability enables your body to function more efficiently

The target of core stability exercises is not the musculature - not in the conventional sense anyway. Core stability work is there to challenge the brain, more to the point the cerebellum, which is the movement centre of the brain. A quick neurology recap: The nervous system is divided into two parts, the sensory and the motor nervous system. The sensory nerves bring information up to the brain, providing it with feedback from the various tissues of the body - the motor nerves conduct the messages from the brain to the muscles telling them what to do.  The cerebellum has an important role in coordinating the input, and then tweaking the output of the brain to produce the smoothest and most efficient movement. Core stability exercises work on proprioception (continuous subconscious feedback of data into the brain from all different tissues in the body, including joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and skin) which fine-tunes the output to the muscles. You might say that core stability work is there to help the brain to learn how  to utilise these muscles better making you functionally and dynamically strong and resilient, however if you are looking to gain big muscles, you must go looking elsewhere.

point four: core stability work is neurological rehab, it does not produce six-packs

For you to properly learn core stability work you must be willing to put in effort - lots of effort. For most of us, it is learning a new skill (or reviving a long lost art). As mentioned before, these 'core pulverising abs buster classes' are not the right place to start from. The best idea is  start off with one to one sessions to ensure that you understand exactly what is required, and are able to perform the basic exercises so that you can practise those at home. There should always be a gradual increase in difficulty and repetitions over a course of couple of months to allow the neural pathways to develop adequately. Neurological development takes much longer than muscular development, and in order to commit this new skill into the automatic, or subconscious part of the brain it has to be enforced on a daily basis in the beginning.  When babies learn a new skill, they keep practising it all the time until they are happy that they know how to do it and only then move on to the next skill - it should be the same with adults. The way of the modern world has led us to being rather impatient, but when it comes to learning core stability, there is no room for hurrying, nor time to be thinking of work with one half of the brain. Every single repetition has to be meticulously perfect so that we are able to strengthen the new, correct way using the body. It just may be, that you may learn a bit of patience and relaxation at the same time.

point five: there are no quick fixes when it comes to core stability work - it takes time and effort

Once your core is functioning you will find that you have a whole new appreciation of the body and it's abilities. You will notice the extent in which the core is active in every mundane activity of daily living, as well as it's pivotal role in the centre of your body in sports. In a way, you will be able to use every movement of your body to further improve the functioning of the core - be it brushing your teeth or vacuuming the lounge, or playing golf or completing your first triathlon.

point six: every movement of your body can be used to improve core stability


At Shepperton Chiropractic Clinic we recommend and teach core stability work to many patients. It has a role in the recovery and prevention of low back pain, sciatic irritation, disc problems, neck pain and stiffness, as well as various sports injuries of the limbs. Core stability work has also been found to be helpful in improving the golf swing as well as athletic performance in variety of sports. A strong and well functioning core will reduce the likelihood of injuries.

Read my university dissertation abstract on golf swing and core stability here.


If you wish to find out more, or to ask specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at the clinic. You may do so by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or telephone: 01932 - 429584.


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I was in so much pain last week I couldn’t imagine that I would feel this much better in 7 days
Heather Penncock

I first went to Mika About 2 months ago. I could not walk straight line or very far. I was also in pain as I have had two knee replacements. After about 3 weeks I can now walk upright and in a straight line. Also a lot of pain relief. I cannot recommend this practice enough.
Frank Whittington

I have been working with Dr Mika Janhunen of Shepperton Chirorpactic Clinic for four years. During this time he has not only been able to help me overcome various niggling injuries and to enjoy better health, but has been able to improve the performance of a number of my golf coaching clients as well. His detailed knowledge of the human body and the complexity of the golf swing movement pattern is virtually unrivalled in terms of results that I have ever seen. I will continue to refer my players to see Mika, and would encourage anyone to do the same.
Rob Watts, PGA Golf Professional