Building a Rock-Solid Core
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, its that we can all benefit from improving our core strength. Your core can never be too strong! Who doesn’t want a rock-solid six pack anyway? Here are five accessory exercises that you should start incorporating if you are looking to strengthen your core and build that six pack:
- Weighted Deadbugs. Start by laying down on your back, bringing your knees up in line with your hips, and shoulders off the ground. Extend your right leg and your left arm while reaching your right arm towards your left knee. Hold for a second and then switch all while keeping your shoulders off the ground. Once you get the coordination of the movement, you can add a medicine ball between your legs and hold it there with the opposite hand of the knee that is attached to the ball.
- Low Slow Bear Crawls. Ditch the bear crawl with your hips hiked high in the air for a low slow bear crawl where you stay close to the ground. Moving slowly demands a higher level of stabilization in your core and also builds coordination in the movement. This will help build multi-dimensional core stabilization, scapular stability, T-spine extension, and end range hip flexor activation.
- Overhead Holds. Get any type of heavy weight (dumbbells, kettlebells, barbell, yoke, etc.) over your head and try to hold while maintaining a neutral spine. Overhead holds require you to engage a variety of muscle groups while maintaining a very stable core. Increase your distance weekly as you improve your strength and stamina.
- Plank Variations. On the elbows, on your hands at the top of a push-up, on your side, star planks, 3-point planks, 2-point planks, weighted…you name it, it will help. Isometric plank holds will help develop not only your core, but also your shoulders, glutes, and hips!
- Hollow Body Variations. Controlling a variety of different lower body movement patterns while maintaining a hollow body position requires practice, strength, and coordination. After you've mastered the simple but effective hollow body, try weighted hollow body holds or flutter kicks while maintaining position. Always make sure your shoulders are off the ground and low back is in contact with the ground when you add resistance or complexity. If you're not able to hold the hollow position after adding difficulty, take it back a step and make it perfect.
Strengthening your core will improve every aspect of your fitness. Use these accessory exercises to not only look better, but also to perform better!