Abs and Core Exercises

5 Core Construction Fixes

Know your core. Then, use these tips to make it stable, secure and strong enough to handle whatever you can throw at it.

strong core

It’s not just about abs, people. Proper core training improves foundational strength that carries over to every other exercise, decreases low back pain, fortifies you against injury and aids in functional movements. The easiest way to think about what exactly constitutes the core is to place a finger at the top of your abdomen near the sternum, and another at the bottom of your glutes. Include all the muscles between those two points, deep and superficial, and you have your core muscles. If you are just looking to build a stunning sixer, take a closer look at your diet. Here are five ways you can better construct a solid core, in the truest sense of the word.

SEE ALSO: 50 Core Exercises that Use a Ball

1. Do Get-Ups

The most common core training mistake: too many crunches and sit-ups. People like to feel that abdominal burn, thinking the fat will disappear from their stomachs and that their core will become strong. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Crunches and sit-ups just can’t reach those “deep” core muscles – in this case, the transverse abdominis – that need to be strengthened.

One great alternative to sit-ups and crunches is the Turkish get-up. The Turkish get-up is a perfect blend of mobility, stability, functional movement, proprioception and core strength. The abundance of moving parts in this exercise provides a great stimulus for the core, as well as other strength and movement benefits. If you want to feel your abs burn, do some heavy get-ups with a weight that is heavy enough to activate the deep muscles of your core.

2. Add Rollouts

Do you remember those good old abdominal exercise wheels that you always saw in people’s basements next to all of their workout gear? Well, don’t throw it away just yet – as it turns out, they are amazing core-builders. Those new to the rollout, on a first go, will either fail before full extension, or experience some low back pain. That is because that type of movement really hits those deep abdominals muscles of the anterior core. You want to avoid extension in the back, and need to engage your anterior core in order to do so. Can’t quite complete a full-ROM rep with the wheel? Try a stability ball instead. This version is easier because of the inherently shorter range of motion, which is better on the back. Other variations include the Ab Dolly, dumbbells, barbells, or even a slide board.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Cable Moves for Your Core

plank exercise group

3. Stabilize Your Lumbar  

Lumbar pain is a common complaint for hard-training athletes – but it doesn’t have to be. You can fortify yourself against this kind of pain, among other methods, by increasing lumbar stability. In order to do this, you need to fire some deep core stabilizers by not moving your hips when in certain positions. Two good approaches: 1) Avoiding too much rotation of the lower back area 2) doing various types of plank exercises. Loaded carries and planks prevent rotation and increase strength of the muscles that stabilize the lumbar spine. The farmer’s carry, suitcase carry, planks and side planks are all great options.

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