TRAINING THE CORE
It’s easy enough in that it’s a relatively specific area to concentrate on. Also once you’ve found the area needed to focus on, you can still be training the core even while you are doing other exercises.
The benefits of a strong core is that it stabilises your trunk and so with the correct posture you are able to exercise with better technique and lift more weight with safety including leg exercises. To have the core working effectively your back MUST be straight. The core won’t turn on properly unless your back is straight and your head is in line with your back. Realise this because, when it comes to any kind of weight or resistance training, the core and posture go together.
The point being, you can just go on into the gym and lift weights and your overall performance may get to below average, or you can train your core, have the correct posture, and your performance may get to top notch. Bottom line… put in the effort.
There are quite a lot of exercises used for training the core. Some basics are…
ROLLOUTS. The rollouts can be performed with a rollout wheel or a lightweight bar with small plates. Knell down on a matt with your arms out in front holding the bar with hands about 100mm apart. Your back is straight and your head is in line with your back. Roll the bar forward pivoting on your knees and keeping your arms and back straight through the whole movement until your body is horizontal with the floor. Now roll the bar back to the start position once again keeping your back straight and head in line.
Throughout the whole movement you are using your core to hold your body straight. As a beginner you may not be able to go horizontal but keep practicing. Set a goal of 3 sets of 15 plus.
STRAIGHT PLANK. Face down on a matt up on your elbows and toes. Your whole body is straight with a very slight rise in your lower back. You will be using only your core to hold the position. Set a goal of 3 sets of 3 minutes plus.
QUADROPLEX. Face down on a matt and up on your knees and palms facing forward. Your back is straight and your head is in line with your back. Raise your right arm up horizontally ramrod straight and slightly out to the right. At the same time raise your left leg up perfectly horizontal and slightly out to the left. Hold that for a 2 count and lower. Do the same thing on the other side, that is, left arm up and right leg up. Set a goal of 3 sets of 15 plus
KNELLING ROLLOUTS. Knelling down behind a swiss ball place your palms down on top of the swiss ball and bring your feet off the floor so your knees become the pivot point. Roll the ball away from you until your chest drops. You should feel your core tighten. Continue to roll the ball away without straining your back. Hold for 2 seconds and return to the start. Set a goal of 3 sets of 12 plus
These will get you started. They will, done properly, help you to get the feel of the core working, especially the rollouts. However, there are a lot of other exercises useful to train the core. Performed 3 times a week alone with your other exercises it’s will make a noticeable difference in technique used in other areas of your workouts.
Mix them up a bit with your regular exercises. For instance, do a set of seated rows and then do a 3 minute plank. Or a set of bicep curls mixed with a set of rollouts.
It will be a tough but interesting workout and a break from the usual stuff week after week. Give it a shot.
Coming soon Training with your core. / Getting the best from your core