Almost every client I work with wants abs. I get it. Society has molded our mindset that abs correlate with health. Which is in no way at all the case! What your stomach looks like does not define your level of "healthiness". Your core wasn't made for show and tell. While there is NOTHING wrong with being proud of what it looks like, it's use is not as materialistic as the world has made it out to be.
If your core is strong (not just flat), you can:
- Squat more weight
- Perform push ups
- Overhead press more
- Begin to do more advanced moves in your training
- If your core is strong and positioned well, your stomach will look smaller. EX: if you're in anterior pelvic tilt all the time, with a lack of core control, you not only put strain on your low back. But you are also pushing your stomach out, making it look bigger than it actually is.
The moves you do matter. Excessively doing sit ups isn't really going to get you far. You want to mix a combination of moves that are fighting rotation (side to side twisting) and fighting extension (Think resisting the urge to have a huge curve in your low back: ie-upward facing dog!).
Exercise #1- Deadbug
- Start laying flat on your back. You can put your hands on a kettlebell/rig or pole for more stability.
- Think about keeping your back smashed into the ground.
- Engage your core, keep it nice and strong the whole time while maintaining your breathing.
- Bring your knees up to a 90 degree position. Knees in line with hips.
- Slowly lower one heel to the ground while maintaining core control. Then slowly bring that knee back up and lower the opposite side.
- Repeat for a total of 10-12x per side.
The progression for this movement would be to extend your legs longer, instead of keeping the knee bent. There are more progressions to the movement, but, our focus is training smart and nailing one movement at a time. So lets become a beast at the basics first! #SCRtrainsmart
Exercise #2- Suitcase Carry
Any kind of carry (farmers carry, racked suitcase, bottoms up suitcase and the regular suitcase) are all pretty bad ass in my humble opinion. In these movements you aren't only focusing on your core by fighting rotation, but you're also working on maintaining good posture through the movement.
- For the suitcase carry, start with the weight on the floor on one side of your body. The way you'll go down to grab the bell is similar to your dead-lift potion. Butt back, bend the knees and keep the chest tall. The way you pick it up DOES MATTER. Being careless with any weight is one of the easiest ways to injure your body.
- Once you have the bell in your hand, squeeze your shoulder blades together so you're standing up nice and tall.
- Brace your core (keep it nice and tight). Now walk at a normal pace (NOT fast), about 25-30 ft one way, then keep it in the same hand and turn around to walk back. Once you go up and down one way, switch hands and repeat.
- You want to choose a challenging weight, but not one that's so challenging that is collapses into your body. You do NOT want the bell to lean against your body as you walk.
Exercise #3- Half Kneeling Pallof Press (AR press out: Anti Rotation press out)
I also love these so much. A movement that you can start at square one and continue to make as hard as you need to for your fitness level.
- Start in a half kneeling position. Outside knee is up and outside hand grabs the cable first. Then wrap your inside hand around the outside hand.
- Squeeze your butt hard underneath you. We start in this half kneeling position with the butt squeezed because it takes out any low back you may start to bring in the movement if you aren't strong enough or get fatigued.
- Chest stays up nice and tall. No rounding of the shoulders here! Keep your eyes up and chest up the whole movement.
- Press out from the center of your chest, don't let the cable pull you into the machine.
- Hold the arms extended position for 1-5 seconds. The longer you hold, the more challenging you make it.
- Then bring it back to center.
- Repeat for 8-12x per side.
- Make sure you continue to breathe through the entire movement.
As you begin to add these to your workouts, you just need to pick one or two per workout and you're golden. You don't need to get crazy and have a whole core day.
As you progress, you can begin to make each move more challenging!
Here's how I would add one to my workout:
A1-Goblet squat x12
A2-Half kneeling pallof press x8 R/L
B1-Banded glute bridges x20
B2- Half kneeling overhead press x10 R/L
C1-Plank 30 seconds
C2-TRX row x12
Set a timer for 5 min and complete as many rounds as possible with good form :)
- 12 burpees
- 12 med ball slams
- 10 jump squats
**I would complete 4 rounds of the A group before moving onto group B. Complete 4 rounds of group B. Then move onto 3 rounds of group C. Once completed I would move on to my finisher.
Which move will you be adding to your workout first?