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Killer Core Exercises

Planks are a great exercise for core strength and stability.
Planks are a great exercise for core strength and stability.

The core is a key component in building maximal athletic performance and overall strength. Misconceptions of how to train and activate the core can lead to wasted time and possible injury. A common error when training the core muscles is “doing crunches or sit-ups.” While these exercises do activate muscles in the core, they are not necessarily core exercises. The core can be considered the surrounding muscles that support your spine, provide stability, and help generate power during athletic movements. They consist of not just a specific muscle group, but a multitude of muscles that work together to provide optimal support and function. Try these killer core exercises to build the stability and strength for maximum performance.

Plank Series

  • Start with a traditional ab plank on elbows. Position your elbows to sit directly underneath your shoulders, forming a 90°angle with the ground. Maintain a flat back and neutral spine, and don’t let your butt arch or dip down. Make sure your breath throughout the plank series. Hold for 30 seconds and move onto the next step.
  • Shift your body onto your side with your body propped up on your forearm and feet staggered. Form a straight line with your torso and don’t let your hips dip down. Hold this side plank for 30 seconds and then flip over to the other side and repeat for 30 seconds more. Immediately transition onto the next step without taking a break.
  • Rotate back down into traditional ab plank on elbows position. Keep your core tight, continue to breathe and raise one leg up off the ground. Hold this single leg plank for 30 seconds. Switch and lift the other leg for another 30 seconds. Then, immediately transition onto the next step without taking a break.
  • Adjust yourself into a push-up position. Then alternately drive one knee towards your chest while maintaining the plank position. Perform 10 leg drives one each side and rest.

Swiss Ball Pike

  • Assume a push-up position with your arms completely straight. Position your hands slightly wider than and in line with your shoulders. Rest your shins on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles.
  • Without bending your knees, roll the Swiss ball toward your body by raising your hips as high as you can. Pause, then return the ball to the starting position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backward.
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