Building a strong core is an important aspect of training, with core stability providing the foundation for optimal movement for the body. Our core bridges the body together, as it provides the connection between our lower and upper extremities. All motions are generated through the core and it is essentially the driving force and base of support for the entire body. A strong, flexible core will help to prevent injuries, increase athletic performance and improve postural imbalances – and of course will help get your abs popping.
When it comes to training your core, don’t just think sit-ups and crunches. Some of the most effective ways to build core strength are through compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses and pull ups. Performed correctly, these exercises will help strengthen your core along with the rest of your body. Add in a few of these more specific exercises and you will get a well-rounded workout and rock hard abs in no time:
- Rest your forearms on the floor, with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and hands facing forward so that your arms are parallel
- Maintain a neutral spine, and balance your weight on the balls of your feet and elbows
- Check head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles align in a straight line
- Ensure lumbar spine does not arch and hold position
- Lie on your left side with your knees straight
- Lift your body up, placing your weight on the left forearm and elbow
- Place your right hand on your hip, or alternatively place it in the air until it’s perpendicular with your torso, forming a T shape with your body
- Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders
- Hold position and repeat both sides
- Lay in a supine position with feet, arms and head 10-20cm off the ground
- Bend at the hips and bring the head and torso toward the legs
- Maintain a neutral spine position with an activated core
- Return to starting position and repeat
- Start in a supine position on the floor, with knees and hips bent at 90°, arms out to sides, palms up
- Activate core and slowly rotate knees towards the ground, keeping a 90° angle at the hips and knees and keeping the upper body in contact with the ground
- Keeping shoulders stable, rotate as far as comfortable and use obliques to return to start position
- Repeat other side
- Sit up straight with your legs bent at the knees, and elevate your body so that it creates and imaginary V-shape with your thighs
- Twist your torso to the right side until your arms are parallel with the floor
- Hold the contraction for a second and then move back to the starting position
- Move to the opposite side performing the same movement
Bicycle Ab Crunch:
- Lie flat on the floor, and place your hands behind your head
- Bring your knees in towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the ground
- Straighten your right leg out to about a 45° angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow toward your left knee
- Switch sides and do the same motion
Dumbbell Side Bends:
- Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell in your left hand and your right hand holding your waist
- While keeping your back straight and your head up, bend only at the waist to the right as far as possible
- Hold for a second and come back up to the starting position
- Repeat on the left hand side
- Lie face up with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your knees bent 90° and stacked over your hips
- Slowly extend your right leg out straight, while simultaneously dropping your left arm overhead. Keep both a few inches from the ground.
- Squeeze your glutes and keep your core engaged, with your lower back pressed into the floor
- Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat on the other side with the opposite arm and leg
- Lie face up with your legs extended and hands at your sides
- Slowly raise your legs, keeping them together and as straight as possible, until the soles of your shoes are facing the ceiling
- Slowly lower your legs back toward the floor, without letting them actually touching the ground
Ab Wheel Roll-out:
- Hold the ab roller with both hands and kneel on the floor
- Place the ab roller out in front of you and slowly roll the ab roller out, stretching your body into a straight position
- After a pause at the stretched position, start pulling yourself back to the starting position
Why do athletes train their core?
Our core bridges the body together. All motions are generated through the core and it is essentially the driving force and base of support for the entire body. A strong, flexible core will help prevent injuries, increase athletic performance and improve postural imbalances.
What are some exercises you can do to improve your core?
Planks, side planks, V-sits, L-twists, Russian twists, Bicycle Ab Crunchs, Dumbbell side benchs, Dead bugs, Leg Raises and Ab Wheel Roll outs are all exercises to strengthen your core.