What is the “CORE”?

The core is much more than just your abdominals.  It is actually a group of muscles in the lower back, stomach, and hips.  These muscles work together to keep your spine stable and your body upright.  They are always active and work in every movement you do.

There are so many benefits of training your whole core vs. just your “abs.”

Your core is your foundation.  Having a strong foundation will translate into heavier lifts with proper form.  It also helps in preventing injuries, especially to your back.

The core’s purpose during a lift is to brace the rest of your body not to move.  Doing sit-ups is definitely a good abdominal exercise, but it won’t get you the results you’re looking for if you want to be able to lift heavy weights safely and efficiently.  Think about when you put a heavy barbell on your shoulders (back of front squats), your entire core (hips, low back, and stomach) are working very hard together to keep your posture correct while lifting.  Having 6 pack abs does not necessarily mean you have a strong core.

With the summer season, everyone is asking me for core workouts for 6 pack abs.  Abdominal exercises alone will never get you visible 6 pack abs if your body fat is high.  You can see your abs when your body fat is below a certain percentage, so yes, visible abs are made in the kitchen… strong abs are made in the gym.

I made a list of some great core exercises to help with bracing and stability.  These will help you build a strong foundation that will help with your strength, injury prevention, and posture.  If your nutrition is on point, then yes, you will be able to see a 6 pack (which is only a small part of your core)!

Scroll down for some great core workouts!

 

VERTICAL PALLOF PRESS

For core stability and resisting spinal extension (arching your back).

Face away from the rig holding the band with both hands.

In a half kneeling position, press the band up and away from your body.

Keep a neutral spine, brace your core, and don’t let the band pull you back.

Hold extended position for 3-5 seconds with a neutral spine.

Start with 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps with a 3-5 second pause. (per side)

*Great for activation of your core before workouts!

LATERAL PALLOF PRESS

For core stability and resisting lateral flexion (side to side).

Keep band at chest level.

Press the band out and up overhead.

Hold at the top for 3-5 seconds while resisting your torso’s urge to bend sideways.

Start with 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps with a 3-5 second pause. (per side)

*Great for activation of your core before workouts!

GHD PALLOF PRESS

Attach a band to a nearby rig same height as the GHD

Go face up on the GHD in an extended position

Hold the band at chest level, keep your torso straight, and press the band away from your chest.

Hold for 3-5 seconds and bring the band back to your chest.

Start with 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps with a 3-5 second hold. (per side)

*Great for activation of your core before workouts!

YOKE WALK

For all over core strength and stability.

Place the yoke on your back (like a back squat), brace your core, and take small steps forward without shifting your hips.

 

  • Heavy + short distance + (3-5 sets) (30-40 feet)
  • Mid weight + mid distance + (5-10 sets) (60-90 feet)
  • Light + long distance + (5-10 sets) (100-180 feet)

*Yoke can also be placed in a front rack position, overhead position, or zercher carry (on your forearms)

BEAR HUG CARRY

For all over core strength and stability

Grab a sandbag/ Dball, bear hug it, and walk with it.

  • Heavy + short distance + (3-5 sets) (30-40 feet)
  • Mid weight + mid distance + (5-10 sets) (60-90 feet)
  • Light + long distance + (5-10 sets) (100-180 feet)

BACK EXTENSIONS

A weak lower back increases the chance of you compensating movements with your spine.

Go facing down on the GHD with your hips on the pad.

Lock in your hips and hinge up and down with only your back.

Start with 3 sets of 8-12 reps

HIP EXTENSIONS

Go facing down on the GHD with your upper thighs on the pad.

Hinge up and down with your hips keeping spine neutral.

Start with 3 sets of 8-12 reps

WEIGHTED HIP EXTENSION

Should be done only after perfecting weightless hip extensions.

Go facing down on the GHD with your upper thighs on the pad.

Hold a plate at your chest or a very light barbell on your back.

Hinge up and down with your hips keeping spine neutral.

Start with 3 sets of 8-12 reps

STRICT LEG RAISES

Focus on contracting your abs to lift your legs up vs. rounding your lower back.

Start with 3 sets of perfect 5-10 reps – using only your abdominals to lift your legs up. No kipping and no rounding your back.

 

 

 

 

CORE WORKOUTS

*Scale these as needed (loads and reps)

 

EMOTM 10

40′ bear hug carry

*Use a stone, Dball, or Sandbag

 

4 Rounds

100′ yoke walk

25 GHD situps

(yoke walk and situps to be done unbroken, so scale load/ distance)

 

3 Rounds

20 back extensions

10 strict leg raises

 

50 Sandbag/ Dball Squats for time

*Bear hug a sandbag and squat below parallel

 

5 Rounds

10 Calorie Ski Erg

15 GHD situps

(scale so situps are done unbroken)

 

AMRAP 12

100′ Yoke Walk (50′ out and 50′ back)

10 Dball over yoke

 

5 Rounds

10 calorie ski

20 Weighted Russian Twists

:30 hollow hold

(Rest 2 minutes between rounds)

 

3 Rounds

15 Dball/ Sandbag Squats

100′ Dball/ Sandbag Carry

 

5-8 Rounds

50′ Farmers Carry (as heavy as possible for an unbroken walk)

50′ Walking Lunges

50′ Bear Crawl

 

 

 

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