Wave of the Fitness Future: 3-D Core Training

Today’s post is written by core performance guru, Linda LaRue. Linda is the creator of Crunchless Abs and the new, constant resistance, 3-dimensional workout, The CORE TRANSFORMER, which burns nearly 1,000 calories per hour.


There’s a new workout movement that’s gaining popularity within the fitness community based on elite performance training. Historically speaking, most peak performance fitness trends began in the elite and pro athlete training rooms. Then, they were embraced by fitness professionals, both personal trainers and group fitness instructors. Some examples include bodybuilding pioneered by legends, such as Joe Gold and Arnold Schwarzenegger; core performance using stability and heavy medicine balls; and now the next evolution that’s gaining popularity: 3-dimensional fitness training .

What Is 3-D Fitness Training?

Why is it the next evolution of peak-performance training? And how does it benefit you? Let me explain. The abs crunch, while it has a handful of applications, is not functional. In real life, especially in elite and professional sports, you must quickly use your whole trunk, such as when you’re catching a pass, blocking or tackling, all while standing upright. In other words, moving in the three dimensions of space (and not just crunching up) requires progressive strength or resistance from your body. It also delivers better results.

Three-dimensional fitness training gives you the biggest bang for your buck (Need proof? Check this workout DVD review out!). In order to work the core in three dimensions you have to do progressive, constant, multi-planar resistance with a cardio element. Because the movements require so many systems to work in a singular coordinated effort, the exercise becomes high-intensity very quickly. And results are about intensity, not duration.

Today, core training is fundamental in the fitness industry. It seems like everything abs these days is being labeled core, which is creating a great deal of confusion. The difference between functional core performance and the standard abdominal crunch can be boiled down to their respective results. One will train a specific portion of abdominal muscle, and the other will transform how your body looks, feels and performs.

Getting to the Core of the Issue

All movement begins from your core. The purpose of functional core training is to first strengthen the stabilizer muscles in your entire trunk to create a strong, stable core or pillar. Your core begins from the base of your skull and goes down through and includes your hips. Your core is an amazing anatomical composition of about 29 muscles that wrap around your midsection like a girdle or back brace. Some of these important muscles are the transverse abdominis, erector spinae, obliques, pelvic floor (PC), illiopsoas and multifidus, to name a few. The goal of functional core training is to establish a proper sequence of diagonal cross firing muscle patterns known as anterior, posterior, transverse and lateral slings. This kind of movement will create proper upright posture and spinal alignment, a strong back, balance, gait, and finally, movement by your legs and arms. In other words, your core is essential for every movement in life.

A balanced, strong body requires a well-aligned, balanced, strong core. From a purely cosmetic viewpoint, when properly trained, the core acts like a girdle, holding and pulling in your entire abdominal region tight and flat—especially that lower belly “pooch” that many consider a problem area.

How to Go 3-D

Core moves can be done in a variety of positions. The best core moves are performed in a standing position because in life we primarily move standing upright—not horizontally. In fact, when we’re horizontal we are resting or sleeping, so not much reason functionally to train that way, right? Fitness products such as a stability ball or BOSU are great tools that create instability within your trunk, thus forcing your body to instinctively use all your stabilizing core muscles.

Most body builders and fitness buffs do an endless amount of crunches or sit-ups to achieve flat, sculpted six-packs abs. However, because sit-ups only train the two, superficial ab muscles, the biomechanics are all wrong. Crunches or sit-ups do not train the important core muscles that truly act as an abdominal girdle by pulling your midsection in tight and flat. Thousands of repetitive, boring crunches might help you get the superficially sculpted abs, but at the cost of your back muscles.

The bottom line: Only true, functional constant resistance 3-dimensional core-performance training is guaranteed to get you those flat, sculpted abs of your dreams, along with developing a strong, healthy back, while blasting that stubborn, top layer of belly fat in the shortest time possible. And the entire body benefits, too. So stop doing those crunches and start working that whole body! —Linda LaRue

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


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1 Comment
  1. Great advice. You mention one way to build a functional core- exercise while standing. Another is to do one hand or one leg exercises so the core is forced to provide more stability.