In the world of fitness, terms such as core, core strength training, abs and stomach are often confused with one another even though their meanings are quite different.  As I’ve said before, I feel a lot of the confusion and misinformation is the result of the broad spectrum of professionals within the industry.

On one end are educated professionals including athletic trainers, physical therapists, strength coaches and some personal trainers.  On the opposite end there are marketers, publishers, and sales experts who excel in business in china but whose fitness credentials are uncertain.  These business owners are often the ones developing new products and equipment which are then linked with intriguing buzz words that draw buyers in and peak their interest.

Remember this:  while there are countless products on the market that claim to give you abs, strengthen the core, or flatten your stomach, very few of them are useful to athletes or those interested in functional fitness.

For those interested in functional fitness, core strength training or sports performance training, there are simple pieces of equipment that can be very effective.  I use each of the following when I train individuals whose goals align with the previously mentioned categories.

Core Strength Training Chest Press

I prefer the simple pieces of equipment like medicine balls and stability balls to the often gimmicky and less effective products commonly sold in the fitness industry.  Medicine & stability balls are both easy to use and versatile.  They allow trainers, exercisers, coaches, and athletes to devise functional and sport-specific movements that require balance, coordination, stability, and core strength.

If you don’t have access to this type of equipment, you can use body weight exercises to challenge and strengthen the core just as effectively.  If you are focused on developing core strength, I recommend creating a workout plan that includes use of body weight exercises, medicine balls, free weights, stability balls, and a variety of different movements total body movements.