When most people hear “core,” they think “abs.” Actually, your core includes the muscles of your torso — shoulders through hips (deltoids, abdominals, gluteals, and lumbar spine). These muscles initiate, generate, and resist movement (running, jumping, hitting, and throwing), strength, and power. If you’re not strong through your core, it won’t matter how strong the muscles of your arms and legs are, because you just can’t compensate for a weak core.
Exercises that integrate your entire core elicit greater muscle activation than exercises that isolate the abs. There are lots of exercises that target the muscles of the core, but not all core exercises elicit significant activation in a way that enhances functional gains and peak performance.
Benefits of exercises that active your core musculature include:
- maximize strength
- improve endurance
- enhance stability
- reduce injury
- maintain mobility
Here are some core exercises that will help you maximize strength,improve muscular endurance, and reduce injury:
- Plank (4-point, 3-point, 2-point)
- Hanging Leg Raise
- Medicine Ball Toe Touch
- Swiss Ball Leg Raise
Rotational exercises, like the one’s listed below, help to strengthen the core through all three planes of motion:
- Russian Twist
- Lateral Medicine Ball Slams and Throws
- Kettlebell Woodchopper and Corkscrew
Anti-Rotational exercises — those for which you move your arms and shoulders laterally but do not rotate your hips (for example, the Russian Twist – Bench Holding Stability Ball) — are still another way to effectively strengthen your core.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!