Where do athletes get their power and speed? No, it’s not their huge biceps and gigantic legs. It’s their core. Core strength is the number one thing, anyone looking to become fitter should focus on first. Core training should become a primary focus because from the core, everything else follows. When we do straining movements, such as sprinting, or when we use our explosive power such as press-ups, the core stability allows for our muscles to truly utilize their full potential. Here is why and how you should be training your core.
Stability before power
The secret to every bodyweight exercise is having a strong core. Have you ever tried to do a press-up or sit-up, and you feel like your body is shaking? It’s not necessarily because your muscles are weak, but your core is. The core supports our hip and shoulder flexors to the center and stabilizes our lower and upper body in unison. Think of your core as the bridge or the middle man that connects the lower and upper body.
What to train when looking to strengthen your core
You will be surprised at just how weak your core is when you focus on training it singularly. You’ll find that if you prevent your feet from rising and your hips from jolting upward during a sit-up, you might barely be able to do 5 or more. Here is what you need to train.
These are all the muscles that connect to the core, and through which your body will be able to stabilize and utilize its full strength.
The best basic exercise for building a solid core
Start off small. Focus on just the basics such as the plank and here’s why. The plank is easy to do, it doesn’t involve any equipment, you can do it anywhere and you can use support to help you. The plank will focus on tensing the core, helping you to learn how to breathe while your diaphragm is locked in place. When you are exerting energy during reps, you will breathe out and your diaphragm naturally sinks to the bottom. So, the plank is a great way to forge your path to harder and harder workouts.
If you want something harder, here are the exercises you should do.
Lying heel grabs
Plank shoulder taps
These workouts will force you to do something else as your core is contracting and extending. Russian twists can be done with either your legs raised or flat on the ground. The former will test your hip flexors and the latter will solely focus on your obliques.
Advanced core exercises
If you want to truly burn your core, do these exercises.
Hanging flutter kicks
Weighted Russian twists
These exercises will truly focus on your core in abnormal positions. Don’t try to do these exercises unless you can do the basic and moderate exercise reasonably comfortably.
From the core, all else arises. Your power, speed and stability i.e. body control, will be better improved if you focus on making your core as strong as steel.
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