Expand your core exercises...

Core exercises are important for many reasons.  The core is essential in most human movements.  It gets used in the following ways: transferring power through the body, stabilising us as we move, bracing and protecting us when moving heavy stuff around, and in many other situations too.

I'm sure most of you know a few core exercises, they are fairly common knowledge really - planks, various crunches, medicine ball twists, and the like.  But if you're looking to add some extra options to your core training, here are some great exercises that I use with my clients to really get their cores firing.

Pallof Press - This is a great exercise for working the anti-rotation element of your core - basically the act of preventing your body rotating.  You get a little bit of light chest and arm work with it too as a bonus.  It looks deceptively simple, but when you select the correct band, it will light up your core.  Give it a try next time you want to add some variety into the core section of your training program.  Molly Galbraith from Girls Gone Strong gives a great demonstration below.

Marching Plank/Plank with Leg Raise - This exercise is a great progression once you have mastered the basic plank.  It again adds an anti-rotation element to the exercise and makes it significantly harder as well.  Dean Somerset demonstrates in the video below.  One thing to note is that he doesn't try and lift his leg way up behind him.  You only need to lift it slightly otherwise there is a tendency for people to arch their back, try not to do this.  Move the leg only from your hip.

Bird Dogs - These are sometimes seen as a beginner or as a rehabilitation exercise but I think that they are great for everyone.  If they get to the point of being easy for my clients, then I move them to the warm-up phase of their workouts as they're great for activating the core and getting the brain working on coordinating their movements too.  There is a balance, anti-rotation and core control element to these.  Luke Sniewski and Tanner Martty from the L.E.A.F. Performance Centre demonstrate how to perform the bird dog correctly.  Remember to reach the foot back rather than up - keep the foot below the hips.

Hollow Body Holds/Dish Holds - I call this exercise the reverse plank sometimes too.  With a plank, you are trying to prevent your lower back arching towards the floor. With a dish or hollow body hold you are looking to drive your lower back into the floor and hold it there.  It's a different way of training the core to brace against movement in your extremities.  I tell my clients that when they fatigue they will feel their lower back start to come off the floor.  When that happens they should stop, rest briefly, then reset and drive it back down. It's a great addition to your core workout.  Jordan Syatt gives a great demonstration in the video below and gives a more advanced variation too.

So there are four great exercises that you can add into your core training program, if you would like ideas about sets and reps then just get in touch and I can give you some advice on that.  So get training and get that core nice and strong, you will see the benefit not just in your core exercises but also in your full body exercises too - you can never have a core that is too strong!

If you would like to train with me, go to my website and book an initial consultation through my online booking portal.


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