Review of Three Core Exercise Videos on YouTube

Hundreds of thousands of people search Google for an answer to a problem. Have you? Have you Googled “flat abs after 50,” for instance? Maybe, how to lose belly fat after 50?

This post is quite different than any I’ve posted. It’s not an easy one. When one fitness professional critiques another it can negatively impair the entire industry. My reason for doing it is with good intentions. I think it’s necessary for you to know that there’s risk involved if you give your trust to well-intended practitioners who may not be relaying based on research but on habit, or their own prior experiences.

Knowledge, research, case history, as well as education, certifications, and peer-reviewed acceptance as an expert are all bits and pieces of information that can qualify someone. It’s not usual for all of that to be disclosed on simple nuggets you find from a Google search unless you do your homework.

I encourage the same scrutiny on me as I suggest for anyone else. I realize I’m inviting that and welcome it. I would advise you to be a critical thinker about the fitness information you gather and use.

I recently posted an article on back pain and on core exercise. I encourage you to read it, and the linked episode 15 of Flipping 50 TV I refer to, as well as consult the course I created three years ago after 3 decades of back pain and core exercise research. That will give you a little insight into the body of exercise surrounding back pain and core exercise that I use to base my comments here.

Video 1: How to Get Flab Abs

There’s a little confusion about “Upper Ab” moves and the “Lower Ab” in this video. To be clear, this is one muscle that runs up and down your entire torso. These are not two muscle groups…this is one muscle. Leg raises can be extremely stressful for the lower back. Given proper cues many can do them safely, but there were no cues given about criteria for modifying this move for safety. There was significant risk of neck strain in the lift and side flexion exercise.

In the second to last tip the instructor does a good job of offering reality: It’s not exercise alone.. 80% of great abs begins in the kitchen. 

Her last tip, unfortunately, is ambiguous. “Burn up the fat by doing cardio” is quite outdated and can backfire on a midlife woman.

Video 2: How To Lose Belly Fat! Menopause Belly Fat

There are some high risk exercises in this video. I disagree with the statement that, “Core exercises are the way to flat abs.” The potential stress to the low back is apparent throughout this video but at 4:18 I had to stop watching, Straight leg scissors cause significant stress to the lower back.

Video 3: Ab Exercises for a 50 Year Old

(unable to embed this video)

Here’s a 20-year old showing the best 50-year old exercises? Her cue, “Pull that belly button in” is exactly what helps cause a lack of contraction in the abdominal muscles. The core weakens when hollowing like this, compared to bracing or stabilization exercises. When you hear this cue, or “draw your navel to your spine” run. The instructor may be doing the best she can, but doesn’t have enough knowledge to help you reduce risk of injury by trying to do the opposite: get stronger.

Beyond that she shows a progression that’s quite backwards for a plank. She begins calling the one that adds stress to wrists and elbows a level 2 and one on the forearms that reduces that stress a level 3, or harder, exercise. You don’t get more difficulty from moving 12 inches off the floor to 6 inches off the floor, or vice versa.

I’d like to hear from you. Do you have concerns about Googling answers to your questions? Are you aware it’s viewer beware?

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