SARASOTA – It’s time to work out those abs. Grab a mat. Pick a spot on the floor. Time to work out. Ab workouts aren’t all about getting that six-pack like many think. Working your abs builds a powerful core. This includes your pelvic muscles, hips and the muscles supporting your spine in the front and the back.

“People think it’s just the abs, what you see in the front but it also includes your low back.”

Crunch group fitness instructor Karen Hoverson says the back is just as important as the front. If your low back is weak, usually the front is weak and vice versa.

“We have to work the whole trunk; your core is the powerhouse. Everything from the top to the bottom at your trunk.”

Reducing back pain, improving posture and balance and building strength. These are the results you will see but…

“Just doing 100 sit ups won’t cut it.”

Crunch member Susan Fiala is right. Karen introduces several different ab exercises to Crunch members.

“It’s concentrated floor work, ab floor work, and at the end we try to do some restorative stretching.”

For those with back pain, you need to pay attention to your core. These exercises build abdominal strength and improve stability that supports your back. Strong abdominals also help keep your spine in alignment for good posture. Even though they’re in the front, your abs are the key to a healthy back.

“Especially when we get older you know, the weaker your stomach gets, the weaker your low back gets. A lot of low back problems are because of not very strong core muscles so.”

For those still with the mindset of getting that six-pack, focus on improving your core strength first. Then it’s just another step to those six-pack abs.