Core Strength: As our bodies get used to the same perpetual fitness routines, it’s necessary to flip the script and switch up the sequence to give your muscles something new to adapt to. Changing exercises can actually, in many cases, be more beneficial in building muscle than piling on too much weight, which can lead to injury and muscle fatigue. If you’re focused on core exercises, you may have tunnel vision when it comes to maneuvers to strengthen your midsection. Fortunately, there are many ways to expand your horizon beyond crunches and sit-ups to get the core strength you’ve been working toward. Here are five exercises to try.
Windshield Wipers for Core Strength
For this killer exercise, you don’t need any weights nearby, just a pull-up bar and your own body weight. Hang from a bar with either an overhand or neutral grip, and then swing your legs toward the ceiling up over the bar. Now, here’s the killer part. Engage your abs and hold the position, and let your legs fall slowly to one side until they are perpendicular to the ground and hold. Then, pull your legs back up toward the bar, and repeat on the other side. Continue for 10 to 12 reps per side, depending on how much you can handle.
Stability Ball Crawl for Core Strength
This is not your average plank. Take a plank and add your feet on a ball and then add moving your arms and legs forward and backward in synchronized movements. Scratching your head? Don’t worry, we’ll explain. Start in a plank position with your feet on a stability ball. Then, when you feel stable, get ready to crawl. Crawl your hands forward and move the ball along with the tops of your feet simultaneously. Take a look at this video to see how it works.
Cable Row with Oblique Twist for Core Strength
Head over to the cable row and attach a single bar handle. This exercise is more about reps than weight, so keep it a bit lighter than you may be used to. Stand with your back straight and feet planted on the ground. Breathe in, exhale, and pull the handle to one side with both hands as you twist your torso in the same direction at the same time. Engage your lat and oblique muscles while performing the exercise. Once the twist is completed, untwist and return to the start position. Perform 15 to 20 reps, depending on strength, and repeat the move on the other side.
Ring Body Saw for Core Strength
If rings are available at your gym, the Ring Body Saw is an exercise that is simple, yet effective. Assume the plank position but — instead of the floor — place your feet through the rings with the tops of your feet resting on the bottom of the rings, facing the floor. Rest your forearms on the floor in a typical plank position and hold. Slowly rock your body all the way back so your arms are fully extended and hold for a brief moment. Then, bring your body back forward to neutral. Repeat 20 to 25 times, or until you feel that continuous burn.
Suitcase Carry for Core Strength
For the Suitcase Carry, you’ll carry a weighted object across the room for a number of steps on one side only, engaging the core, as well as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves. For a greater challenge, grab a barbell. Or, for a beginner’s start, grab a kettlebell. Pick up the barbell or kettlebell with your right hand and take 20 to 30 steps across the room. Use your core muscles to stabilize your body and avoid leaning to one side.
No matter how many days you may spend in the gym, there’s always a new way to change up your routine to avoid exercise boredom and muscle adaptation. With new exercises and maneuvers, you can continue to build core strength and avoid a dreaded plateau.
Keep On Reading…
If you enjoyed this article and would like to continue reading, please check out our other articles on Hardcore Athlete? Here are 10 Critical Nutrients For You