What would you choose … Slogging through 1,700 monotonous crunches? Or letting loose as you punch and kick your way through an endorphin-inducing workout? Both are likely to provide equal core benefit – but one is a heck of a lot more fun!

No matter what your fitness goals are, core training is something none of us can afford to ignore. A strong core is vital to whole body health. It provides us with stability, helps with balance and can assist with injury prevention.

When it comes to developing core strength, crunches and sit ups are a popular go-to. But research indicates they’re not necessarily the best option. Testing led by Dr. Jinger Gottschall has shown that BODYCOMBAT™ is a supreme vehicle for delivering one of the best core workouts around. With just one 55-minute BODYCOMBAT workout, you’ll power through the equivalent of 1,700 crunches!

How did we find this out?

Gottschall engaged a group of 20 exercisers, leading them through sets of crunches, punches and kicks while they were hooked up to an EMG machine. The participants had electrodes placed on the relevant core muscles, in this case the rectus abdominus and the external obliques, and a computer monitored the muscle activation. The greater the muscle activation, the greater the core workout.

Each of the participants then performed all of the moves from a 55-minute BODYCOMBAT workout and the activation levels from specific moves were measured against their activation levels achieved during a crunch. In every comparison, core muscle activation was a lot higher during moves such as jabs, kicks and high knees than they were in crunches.

The most core activation came from double front kicks, which resulted in 2.3 times the activation of a crunch. Fast alternating jabs measured 1.6 times the activation of a crunch. By adding up all of the moves in BODYCOMBAT 51, and taking into account the increased activation you get from each move, it was evident that you’d benefit from the equivalent of 1,700 crunches by the time you’ve finished the class.

Rachael Newsham, BODYCOMBAT Program Director, says the research is an eye-opener. She’s always known that when you’re punching and kicking your way through a martial arts workout a lot of the power and force comes from the abs, but even she was surprised by the extent of the gains. “It proves that the core is working pretty hard! Moves like jabs and front knees provide amazing core activation,” says Newsham. “This is brilliant news as it means you can get a great core workout and really burn calories at the same time.”

BODYCOMBAT is such an effective core workout because of something called Reactive Core Training. This is essentially what happens when you exploit your body’s muscle wiring and natural reflexes by doing movements that force your core muscles to automatically respond as they’re meant to.

Jabs and kicks are great examples of reactive core training. This type of training unlocks your functional core strength – and that’s the core strength you need for everyday life.

“Moves like jabs and front knees provide amazing core activation. This is brilliant news as it means you can get a great core workout and really burn calories at the same time.” Rachael Newsham, BODYCOMBAT program director

Keen to learn more? Discover all you need to know about BODYCOMBAT here.

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