Personally, I place the highest priority on my core during my training. Are my abs perfect? No. But with each passing workout, they’re getting better. I think, out of all the muscle groups, I am most often asked, “How do you get your abs?” Then they proceed to tell me that for the past month they’ve been doing a 1000 crunches a day. Which is great, I’m not going to say doing crunches are a bad idea, but I am going to say that there is no need to invest so much time in crunches to get the abs you want. I don’t contribute my abs to 1000s and 1000s of crunches (although, when I first started, I thought that was the best way to build up my core). As I’m progressing in my workouts, I’m gaining experience and learning that there are better options. The best advice I have for obtaining the core you desire is simple: Control. Controlling each movement is by far the most important aspect to my core training regiment. Ab workouts that used to take me an hour, is now taking me 15 minutes and I’m seeing better results than before. Personally, to ensure that I’m getting the most out of my core workout, I will place a hand over my stomach and “feel” if my abs are contracting properly during the exercise. This really helps to slow me down and make sure that I’m hitting my core properly. If I can’t feel that my abs are contracting during the exercise, I will do perform that lift or that set again, simple as that. Make the most of your core workouts, really strive to work your core during each repetition and don’t rely on momentum to lift you up. If you find yourself struggling to see results, slow down and control the movement. Your core can be one of the most rewarding muscle groups to improve, as the core is what stabilizes your entire body --not to mention the confidence they bring at the beach. Jack Burdick is majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and along with his weightlifting workouts, he competes in marathons and ultra-marathons (50 mile races) and is looking to earn a Cross-Fit title or to be recognized with The World’s Fittest Man title which is reserved for an ultra endurance power athlete.