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Most lawyers have gotten the memo that a strong core is a good thing. Whether you’re gunning for six-pack abs or you just want to reduce back pain, improve posture and maintain mobility in today’s sedentary work world, strengthening the core is a must.

Odds are you have tried to crunch or contort your way there. Whatever the flavor—sit up, bicycle crunch, Russian Twist, hanging leg raise, the list goes on and on—most “traditional ab exercises” consist of spinal flexion, spinal rotation or a combination of both. That’s cool. Flexing and rotating your spine are part of what abdominals are meant to do. So by all means do it in moderation, with control and only under safe load or with just body weight.

What most people forget is that your abdominals, as well as all the other muscles that make up your core, are meant to stabilize the spine and protect your internal organs. One of their most important jobs is to resist movement, not just make movement. So it’s great if you can do 10,000 crunches. But that won’t help you maintain excellent posture when sitting at your desk or when safely lifting heavy objects, like weights, groceries or kids or even doing a pushup.

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