A strong core allows you to be stronger, faster and more powerful in everything you do. It also helps prevent injury by keeping you balanced and stable.
Training your core is more complicated than doing a few crunches. Crunches aren’t going to provide the stimulus necessary to get stronger, because they’re simply too easy. You need to challenge yourself with more difficult, high-tension core exercises to see improvement.
Here are some recommended core strengthening exercises:
- Hold your body up on your elbows in a straight line for a specified duration (work up to one minute, then two minutes etc). It may not look like much, but the plank fires up your deep core muscles.
Stability-Ball Bird Dog
- With a stability ball under your belly, position your hands and toes near the floor, as if you were doing a pushup.
- Engage your core by pulling your bellybutton away from the ball and squeezing your glutes.
- Inhale, and slowly lift your left hand off the floor, raising your arm until it’s parallel to the ground, with your palm facing in.
- Exhale, and return your hand towards the floor.
- Repeat with your right hand, then right leg, and finally left leg.
- Make it harder: Lift your opposite arm and leg at the same time; switch sides.
- Lie down on a foam roller that’s long enough to support your entire back and head; rest your arms on the floor at your sides.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Brace your abs as if you’re about to be punched in the belly.
- Keep your core engaged, inhale, and lift one knee at a 90-degree angle toward your chest.
- Exhale and lower your foot to the floor. Repeat on the other side.
- Make it harder: Over time, rely less on your arms for support.
Body-Weight Hip Bridges
- Lie down, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.
- Place a soccer ball between your knees.
- Squeeze your glutes and pull your abs down toward the floor.
- Inhale and drive down through your heels to lift your hips until they form a straight line with your knees and shoulders. Keep your abs down.
- Exhale, and lower your hips to the floor under control. Repeat.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your back in a neutral position, tightening your abdominal muscles.
- Keeping your shoulders on the floor let your knees fall slowly to the left. Go only as far as is comfortable. You should feel a stretch, but not pain. Hold for three deep breaths.
- Return to the start position. Repeat the exercise to the right.
- Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly below your shoulders, and align your head and neck with your back. Tighten your abdominal muscles.
- Raise your right arm and left leg off the floor and reach ahead. Hold for three deep breaths.
- Repeat with your left arm and your right leg.
- Lie on your left side, raising yourself onto your left forearm. Place your left shoulder directly above your left elbow, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees in alignment. Rest your right arm along the side of your body.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat on your right side.
- For added challenge, balance on your left hand. Raise your hips off the floor and extend your right hand toward the ceiling. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat on your right side.
- Lie on your stomach with a rolled towel or a small pillow under your hips to support your back. Tighten your abs.
- Raise your right arm off the floor. Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right arm and repeat with your left arm.
- Raise your right leg off the floor. Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right leg and repeat with your left leg.
No matter what type of training you’re into, your abs can be a difficult to train. Contact me if you’d like help coming up with a program specific on core strengthening. I can help you enjoy all the benefits of what newfound core strength brings!
Train Right, Tri Right!