Core training is an essential part of strength training, looking better, sports and staying injury free. This is because it helps to support key structures of the body that let you move properly and brace for external resistance.
Unfortunately, like some other things, it is easy to neglect and leave out. This is understandable as the core is used in nearly every type of training and also is generally less of a priority than compound lifts/main movements.
The core refers to the whole middle structure of the body and goes far beyond your “abs” (abdominals). It includes the muscles that you can see on the front and back, the sides and ones inside the body that surround the spine for stability.
Core training goes a lot further than some crunches when it comes to lifting heavy, staying healthy and overall longevity so a few things must be considered. I like to approach core training by using some movements in my warmup (shown here in an Instagram post I did) and then focusing on other exercises on their own, such as weighted planks, ab rollouts and hyperextensions.
My main reasoning for this style is because most core stability/strengthening exercises act as a great warmup for a session but also are more for back health/posture/longevity than for getting stronger and bigger. Obviously you can progress these exercises and they will allow you to stay healthy to continue getting stronger and bigger however they are (generally) not loadable, so I’d rather put focus on loadable core exercises within the sessions.
Since rigidity and bracing are needed for lifting heavy, static holding exercises are preferable however it is good to include movements that require flexion, extension and stability on each side (for example: weighted stomach crunches, hyperextensions and deadbugs). This means you can get the best of both leading to a stronger midsection, a healthy back and better movement patterns.
Try this easily applicable routine to your next few workouts:
- Cat/cow – 10 reps
- Bird/dog – 6 reps per side
- Deadbug – 8 reps per side
- Prone raises with upper back squeeze – 8 reps
Within main session:
- Weighted plank – 3 holds (30 seconds each) with appropriate weight (lay the weight near the hips, not the upper back)
- Hyperextensions – 3 sets of 10 reps (hold weight if needed)
If anyone needs these exercises explained feel free to message me via Instagram or email (shown below) or Youtube them as they are well demonstrated on there!
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