How To Build a Solid Foundation with Core Strength

If you are looking for a solid accessory that will improve your movements, a core circuit is likely your best choice.

If you do them correctly, these movements increase stability and strength through a variety of motions. The core is the body’s transfer powerhouse, providing stability and strength for whole-body movements.

In Olympic weightlifting it can decide if you make a snatch or not. In martial arts it will make the difference between a strong punch or a weak one.

What Is The Core?

Core work is much more than getting ” six-pack” abs. In fact, the “six-pack” is only one of four muscle groups in the abdomen.

While most core work targets each of the four abdominal groups, the core also consists of muscles in the lower back, hip, and pelvis.

Rectus Abdominis

The most visible of the abs, these muscles handle flexing the spine.

That’s why coaches tell you to focus on squeezing your abs/stomach to see if it reduces the pressure on your lower back in certain movements.

Internal and External Obliques

These are the “ribbons” of aesthetic abs. These manage twisting and bending.

Transverse Abdominis

These are your “deep abs.” They are responsible for balance and pressurization of the abdominals.

These are also the muscles that aid the spine in staying rigid during heavy lifts.

Erector Spinae

These are some of the back muscles involved in the core. As you might expect, these muscles are responsible for keeping the spine straight and supporting posture and stability through the lower back.

Core Exercise #1: Tuck Position Hold

This foundational gymnastic move develops the “deep abs” and the “six-pack.”

The correct form makes this simple move particularly challenging as you work on keeping your shoulders back and chest up while picking your feet off the floor.

Tuck Position Hold Core Exercise

To perform this exercise:

  • Sit upright on the floor
  • Roll your shoulders back to keep your chest up.
  • Place your hands on the floor outside your hips.
  • Press the arms straight, keeping your hips in between your hands.
  • Bring your knees in as tight to your body as you can.
  • Keep pressing through your arms as you lift your feet off the ground.
  • Keep your chest up and shoulders back.

Core Exercise #2: Hollow Body Hold

I love the hollow body for overall core strength. This again works on the transverse abdominus and the rectus abdominis. It gives you strength and stability in movements from handstands to snatches.

hollow body hold core exercise

To perform this exercise:

  • Lay on your back on the floor.
  • Press your lower back to the floor.
  • With your upper body, lift your arms overhead and raise your shoulder blades off the floor.
  • Lift your lower body off the floor with a posterior pelvic tilt.

Core Exercise #3: Quadruped Torso Rotation

This movement works on your back flexibility and targets the obliques to work on twisting. It helps strengthen and protect the muscles along the spine.

quadruped torso rotation

To perform this exercise:

  • Get down on your hands and knees with a flat back.
  • Keep your shoulders over hands, hips over knees
  • Place your hand on the back of your head.
  • Pull your elbow down and under to touch your support arm.
  • Twist and lift your bent elbow toward the sky.
  • Keep the shoulder of your support arm away from your ear.
  • Hold at the top of each repetition and expand your rib cage.

Core Exercise #4: Mountain Climber

This classic movement works on your spinal muscles. Adding the pause activates the deep abs. This exercise works on that infamous six-pack.

mountain climber core exercise

To perform this exercise:

  • Get into a plank position.
  • Ensure your shoulders are over your hands, your back is flat, and your head is in a neutral position.
  • Pull your right knee into your chest as far as you can.
  • Pause without touching your foot to the floor.
  • Switch legs, pulling one knee out and bringing the other knee in.
  • Pause here as well.
  • Keep your hips down and continue the movement.

Core Exercise #5: Mountain Climber Cross-Body

This twist on a classic move makes it a complete dynamic core exercise utilizing all of the abdominal muscles and strengthening the stabilizing muscles of the back as you twist.

mountain climber cross body core exercise

To perform this exercise:

  • Get into a plank position
  • Ensure your shoulders are over your hands, your back is flat, and your head is neutral.
  • Pull your right knee to your left elbow as far as you can.
  • Pause without touching your foot to the floor.
  • Switch legs, pull the right knee back, and take the left knee to the right elbow.
  • Pause here as well.
  • Keep your hips down as you continue the movement.

Building a solid foundation is essential for everybody.

From athletes in the arena to the elderly standing up from a chair at home, these muscles transfer power from the arms to the legs and vice versa.

Strength in this area helps foster a resilient, balanced, and capable body and allows you to do all the things you want to do.

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