For the next few weeks, Each Monday we will be going over essential core exercises not just for a sexy 6-pack but for optimal functioning. Just because you have low body fat and can see someone’s abdominals does not mean he or she actually has a strong core. Also without offending anyone, for the most part doing crunches, bicycles, etc. does not build a strong core like functioning movements do. Does it make your core “burn” and fatigued? Probably but then again you can’t target fat loss from one area anyways but that’s a whole other topic of conversation.
For now here’s some of our favorite core strengthening exercises. Be sure and check back each Monday as we add a new one!
WEEK 1: BARBELL ROLLOUTS
Barbell Rollouts are one of our favorite core exercises.
Effective tool to help prevent extension (anti-extension) and actually work the anterior core.
Mike Boyle of Elite Performance says he wants people to know the anterior core (aka 6-pack) doesn’t bring your shoulders closer to your hip or hips closer to shoulders as in standard crunches.
You’re going to want to watch the video on this to make sure you are properly keeping your core tight and able to master the stability ball (swiss ball) before making it harder.
Start with a swiss-ball and master it. Gradually progress to use of a smaller and smaller objects until you can get to the ab wheel and then possibly use a barbell. A smaller object may be a smaller swiss-ball, medicine ball, or other.
Click the link to watch Mike Boyle demonstrate Rollouts while he gets into some great details about why you should be doing them too!
WEEK 2: FARMER CARRIES
This week it’s all about Farmer Carries.
Increase grip strength, promote core stability, and overall a safe and effective exercise.
This exercise is pretty simple. Find a heavy weight, pick it up, and walk. Well, ok you need to do several things as well but overall that’s the concept. The Invictus Blog notes several things:
1.) Go heavy — you should be only able to carry it 50-100m. If you go more than that (200m), you should probably increase the weight to be effective.
2.) To actually pick up the weights, “half squat-half deadlift yourself to them with a flat back. Take a big belly brace and press your legs through the ground and to extension.” Upon doing this the weights should now be at your side.
3.) With the palm of your hand now facing the legs, “Pin back your shoulder blades, make your spine as long as possible and walk as far as you can. Make sure you keep your belly braced throughout your walk.”
There are several variations if you only have one heavy weight or maybe only a lighter weight.
1.) Suitcase = carrying only one weight at a time and then switch. Though, you should be able to keep the same positioning as if you had two weights and not excessively leaning to one side.
2.) Overhead = Place the weight or weights above the head to work shoulder stability as well. This will usually be a much lighter weight than a traditional or suitcase carry
When to incorporate?
You can add these in anytime. You can use them as a finisher or toss them in the middle of a workout. I sometimes use the variations to warm-up depending on what my lifts are for the day.
For more information check out the article on: http://www.crossfitinvictus.com/blog/farmer-carries-super-beneficial-yet-widely-underused/
WEEK 3: LIFT SOMETHING HEAVY
We did something a little different this week and went with a video on our Facebook and Instagram. This week’s message is pretty simple though. Brace your core and lift heavy things correctly and you will have a strong core. Because if not, you will not be able to lift heavier things. I very seldom do actual core work unless it’s stability work. And know by stability work I’m not talking about doing bicycles or 100 crunches or something else similar.
Core Brace/Neutral Spine
The perfect core is a happy core and spine. You are literally use your core muscles all day everyday and knowing how to properly brace it is crucial to optimal performance. What I do tuck my hips under my shoulders (by squeezing glute muscles and draw my ribs down and shoulder back. I’ll post a video next week showing this exactly.
In our Instagram Video you can see me place one hand on my chest and one on my stomach. I do this to practice drawing my hands away from each other and then bring them together to have a neutral spine and brace my core for the heavy lift.
Check out the Video and let us know what you think. Did you like the video better or not so much?
Now, Get Moving!
WEEK 4: Coming 7/17 on FB and IG