How To Build a Solid Foundation with Core Strength

If you are looking for a solid accessory that will make all your movements better, chances are a core circuit is your best choice. These movements increase stability and strength through a variety of motions if you do them correctly. The core is the transfer powerhouse of the body, 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 getting “6-pack” abs. In fact, the “six-pack” is only one of 4 muscle groups in the abdomen. While most core work targets each of the 4 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. These muscles are why coaches will tell you to focus on squeezing your abs/stomach to see if it reduces the pressure on your low 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” These are responsible for balance and pressurization of the abdominals. These are also the muscles that are responsible for aiding the spine to stay 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 in a straight line. Working on posture and stability through the lower back.

Tuck position hold.

This foundational gymnastic move develops the “deep abs” and the “six-pack”. Correct form makes this simple move particularly challenging as you work on keeping your shoulders back and chest up while getting your feet off the floor.

  • Siting 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.
    • Being 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 chest up shoulders back.

Hollow body hold

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

  • Laying 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.

Quadruped Torso Rotation

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

  • From hands and knees with a flat back.
    • Shoulders over hands, hips over knees
    • Place in 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.

Mountain Climber

This classic movement works on your spinal muscles keeping a straight line for your back, adding the pause activates the deep abs and the movement overall works on that infamous six-pack.

  • Get into a plank position.
    • Make sure 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.

Mountain Climber cross body

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

  • Get into a plank position.
    • Make sure your shoulders are over your hands, your back is flat, and your head is in a neutral position.
    • 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 taking 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 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 allowing you to do all the things you want to do.

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