Exercises for Core Strength
Training your core can be tough at first. If you’re unsure how to properly train your core, you could have improper form which leads to pain, discomfort and potential for injury – Yeiks. If you feel pain from poor form, you might feel like your core is weak or unable to complete exercises properly. Unfortunately, this causes people to neglect their core muscles altogether.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve included three great core exercises at the end of this article. First, let’s talk about what your core is [hint, it’s more than 6-pack abs].
Generally, people train their core based off what they’ve seen on TV, or what they’ve been told from friends and family. You might be able to guess the two exercises people go to most… it’s Crunches and Sit-Ups.
Crunches and sit-ups aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re just a small aspect of what your core is meant for.
Plus, crunches/sit-ups that aren’t done properly do more harm than good. If you think a hard session of crunches will lead to chiselled six pack abs… you’re wrong. 😬
Our core’s main purpose is to help protect the spine from unnecessary movement. This involves excess bending, rotating and twisting of the spine. The core is also responsible for keeping our body supported and stable through workouts, and everyday life. Exercises like crunches or sit-ups primarily focus on flexing the trunk. These strengthen trunk flexion, which is already heavily focused on in most training programs. What we tend to forget, is that the core also has three other major functions. These functions are often over looked and forgotten. They include:
- trunk extension
- trunk rotation
- trunk lateral flexion
A workout routine that uses all four aspects of the core, will optimize your athletic performance and prevent injuries.
Below are three great exercises to target overlooked core areas.
The exercises can be modified based on your fitness level. Start by adding core workouts to your training 1-2 times a week. Make sure to take time to rest, and listen to how your body is reacting and responding to the exercises.
Dead Bugs – (Trunk Extension)
- Start by lying flat on your back, with your arms extended towards the ceiling.
- While your arms are still extended, slowly extended your knees and hips up into a 90 degree angle. Keep your abs contracted and push your lower back into the floor.
- Inhale, and slowly lower your right leg and left arm at the same. Do not let them touch the floor. Make sure to keep your core contracted, which will help prevent any arching in your lower back.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite arm and leg.
- Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions total on each side. Take 30 seconds to 1 minutes rest between your sets.
Farmers Carries – (Trunk Lateral Flexion)
- Start by finding a suitable area, with enough room to walk back and forth.
- Next grab two dumbbells, kettle bells, or any heavy objects that are safe enough to lift.
- Keeping your core and glutes contracted, grip the weights close to your side and begin walking slowly. Control the weight the entire distance, while maintaining good upright posture.
- For repetition and set range this varies. Find a suitable distance that you are comfortable walking (30 to 100 feet) and perform for 2-3 sets. Take at least a couple minutes rest between sets.
Pall of Press – (Trunk Rotation)
- Start by attaching a cable or resistance band to a fixed anchor/object. Have the band positioned around your mid chest.
- Have your body set in a position where the band is slightly in front of you.
- Take a few steps to the side, away from the anchor point, giving you enough resistance within the band.
- With both hands pressed together, extended your arms fully forward. Keeping the band
in the middle of the chest.
- Having your core contracted to keep you stable, hold this position for 1-2 seconds.
- Slowly return back to starting position, and repeat again.
- Complete 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions total on each side.
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve tried any of these exercises. We’re passionate about core support and spine health.
Until next time, stay well!
Live Well Team