The Myth of Core Strength

WARNING: This video contains major TRUTH BOMBS which may cause your Yoga teacher to weep.

For some reason, core strength gets used as the default answer to everything. There is a strange obsession around this topic which can feel a little cult-like at times.

I have a mental image of hundreds of zombies with their arms outstretched saying “core… core….need more core”

As people become more masterful in a skill (Dance, Gymnastics, Hand-balancing) they tend to refer to “core strength” less frequently as they come to realise it’s just one of many factors which are all important.

Standing normally does not require a great deal of core strength because the body weight is stacked vertically through the skeleton. A Handstand is no different, except it’s upside down.

Shoulder strength and shoulder mobility are much more important factors for Handstands.

The shoulders are the base of the handstand, and they bare the most burden.

Strength people (bodybuilders, climbers, crossfit) are often limited by tight shoulders (which won’t go straight with the spine) and this is what stops them from accomplishing a handstand. (See my tutorial on handstand shapes)

What they need to do is to spend time stretching their shoulders back to improve their alignment.

Flexible people are often unstable because they lack shoulder strength.

What they need to do is strengthen those shoulder to create a more stable handstand base.

Neither of those groups suffer from a lack of core strength.

You may think the press to handstand is one move which DOES require core strength and you would still be wrong. (See my other tutorial on this)