The core, which includes the abdominals, pelvic floor, lower back, hips and glues, is the foundation of all movement, so to say core work is important would be an understatement. Core strength allows us to move with more efficiency, increase our power and speed, and help us maintain good form during an endurance event.
Not all core exercises are created equally. There are many wasteful exercises out there that do not engage the entire core. Here is a list of eight core exercises to get you started that train the multiple muscle groups of the core.
Bosu Hip-UpLevel: Beginner 1 of 19
Place the Bosu ball dome side up. Lie on your side, put your forearm on the Bosu and push your hips up, creating a straight line form your shoulder to your foot.
Bosu Hip-Up Con't2 of 19
Pause at the top and slowly return to the starting position. Maintain a rigid core throughout the movement. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Bosu Plank to StandLevel: Beginner 3 of 19
Place the Bosu ball dome side up. Start in a plank position with both forearms and elbows on the Bosu. Extend your arms up one at a time. You should end up in a push-up position.
Bosu Plank to Stand Con't4 of 19
Return to starting position by lowering one arm at a time, and finish in a plank position. Maintain a rigid core throughout the movement. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Med Ball SlamsLevel: Beginner 5 of 19
Start in a standing position, and get into an athletic stance with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees bent and weight in the balls of your feet. Grab the med ball and press overhead.
Med Ball Slams Con't6 of 19
Slam the ball on the floor with velocity, catch ball when it bounces and repeat. Complete 5 to 6 sets of 15 to 20 reps.
Cable/Band Wood Chops Low to HighLevel: Beginner 7 of 19
Grab a cable or band with both of your hands, and get into an athletic stance (feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees bent and weight in balls of your feet). Your left side should face the anchor point of the cable.
Cable/Band Wood Chops Con't8 of 19
Keeping your arms extended, rotate the cable from the starting position to over your right shoulder. Return to the starting position and repeat. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 10 to 16 reps on each side.
Stability Ball SawLevel: Beginner 9 of 19
Place your elbows and forearms on the balls feet on the floor, and get into a plank position. Roll ball forward by extending your arms in front of you. Reach the ball in front of you to a comfortable distance, and return to starting position slowly. Keep your core tight during entire movement. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 8 to 15 reps.
TRX Atomic Push-UpLevel: Intermediate/Advanced 10 of 19
Put both feet into the foot cradles, and get into a push-up position.
TRX Atomic Push-Up Con't11 of 19
Perform one push-up, then bring both of your knees towards your elbows, performing a crunch. Return to push-up position and repeat. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Dumbbell Death CrawlLevel: Intermediate/Advanced 12 of 19
This is a plank, push-up, and renegade row all in one. Start in a push-up position, hands on a pair of dumbbells.
Dumbbell Death Crawl Con't13 of 19
Keep your body rigid. Perform a push-up.
Dumbbell Death Crawl Con't14 of 19
Row each dumbbell up one at a time.
Dumbbell Death Crawl Con't15 of 19
Return to a push-up position, and walk forward by moving each dumbbell forward one at a time (your feet will follow). Finish how you started in a push-up position—you have just completed one rep. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 20 reps.
Sit-Up With Overhead Med Ball TossLevel: Intermediate/Advanced 16 of 19
Start in a sit-up position, and press the med ball over your head. Quickly perform a sit up—as you're sitting up, throw the ball at the wall or to a training partner.
Sit-Up With Med Ball Toss Con't17 of 19
The throwing motion is exactly like a soccer throw: extend arms overhead using your core to generate velocity. Catch the ball off of the bounce from the wall or from your workout partner, press ball overhead and repeat sit-up. An alternative option: anchor your feet down for extra assistance with sitting up. Complete 4 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Complete 2 Core Workouts Each Week18 of 19
Core training should be done twice a week. You can do one core session that is integrated into your strength-training day; try doing the second session on an active recovery day. You can start with one or two core exercises per session if you are new to this type of training. Take 45 to 60 seconds rest in between sets. As you improve, you can build up to four or five different exercises and decrease the amount of rest taken in between sets.