TLS Trivia Question #4
Question: The best way to strengthen the “core” is to balance on one leg while lifting a 3-pound weight.
Answer: These methods are promoted by fitness media-heads as “functional core” exercises to sound interesting, technical, and smart. While the methods form a novel element in exercising and keep things “fresh” for the average person, it generally fails to produce the adequate nerve impulse frequency, muscle force and metabolic demand for the meaningful core strength, health, and aesthetic changes most people seek.
Perhaps balancing on one leg and lifting a 3-pound dumbbell is useful for long-term couch potatoes, those going through physical rehabilitation, or folks joining the circus, but more effective and efficient methods can be chosen to strengthen the core and the whole body, while also stimulating the nervous, endocrine, and metabolic systems.
And while balancing on one leg (or on a stability ball) may be challenging, it’s a neuro-motor challenge similar to that in learning to play a piano; in other words, a “challenge” doesn’t necessarily result in meaningful cellular changes.
While these balancing exercises may fit into a small part of the overall fitness program, you have to consider how effectively you wish to spend your time; if you pay a personal trainer $100 an hour, do you want half of the session filled with balancing exercises that produce sub-optimal result?
Don’t let exercise novelty and popularity reduce the stimulus efficacy for optimal strength, function, and health. The answer is a resounding F… False.