My general philosophy regarding abdominal training dashes through the aesthetic to the immediate function. Despite joining my fellow Americans in the quest for a beautiful torso, I wish to deviate from what I consider “ab sculpting” to the more practical application of core conditioning. As stated in the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide (http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/core-conditioning-its-not-just-about-abs.shtml), strengthening the core improves the function of all other body mechanics. Core conditioning becomes a larger segment of the mechanics conversation than the aesthetics conversation when issues like balance, muscle confusion, performance enhancement and post-partum pelvic strength are introduced. Someone who runs daily and does 100 or so sit-ups could benefit immensely from a stricter core conditioning regimen that includes all of the abdominal muscles and the hip flexors. Runners who experience imbalances or new mothers can also benefit from improved lumbar and pelvic support. The outcome may well be washboard physique, but whether or not a person can complete complex movements is a true test of abdominal fitness.
As I engage in professional development specifically inclined toward Core Conditioning, I look forward to posting more information here!