About the Core Muscles:
There are hundreds of muscles in the core of the body – the abs (all layers), lower to mid back, upper pelvic region, the obliques and the world famous ‘love handles’ areas are loaded with muscles of all different sizes, shapes, lengths and angles – which require specific core exercises to produce the desired core strength training effect.
What is amazing is, these core muscles are all so close together, some of which are layered – meaning muscle behind muscle. And if all of these core muscles are worked out properly with the right exercise program and workouts – it is not a question of “Will I be able to get a great core?” but a question of “When will I have my great core?”
Unlike 97% of core fitness workouts that are in existence, the best core workout, is designed to provide a training stimulus to every single muscle in the body’s core a with the right exercises.
The upper, middle and lower core – the love handles – the obliques – the lower and mid back areas (avoiding these will not only prevent you from ever getting killer abs, but can lead to serious injury – this happens EVERY DAY to people who try to exercise without proper guidance – & it is one the reasons why physical therapists are so busy!)
The best core workout does not rely on big expensive fitness machines or silly exercise gadgets.
It does rely on the body itself, its natural movement patterns and how the muscles of the body work in relation to gravity. This means the ideal core workout can be done anywhere, anytime.
A big mistake many people, even trainers, make is to mimic the core routines of bodybuilders or powerlifters. The problem with that is most people are not bodybuilders or powerlifters – and these people tend to overtrain anyway (I know this because I used to do it myself!). The problems here range from a lot of wasted time to serious, long term injuries.
Lie on your side with your forearm on the floor under your shoulder to prop you up, and your feet stacked. Contract your core and press your forearm against the floor to raise your hips until your body is straight from ankles to shoulders. Hold for 15 to 45 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Contract your abs and butt muscles forcefully to keep your body straight.
Plank with Diagonal Arm Lift
Assume a modified pushup position with your feet shoulder-width apart, forearms on the floor. Keeping your torso steady, raise your right arm for-ward and to the right, so that it points to 2 o’clock. Hold for 2 seconds, then lower and repeat with your left arm, raising it to 10 o’clock. That’s one rep. Your elbows should be bent 90 degrees and directly under your shoulders.
Lie on your back with your legs extended straight up. Keeping your legs straight, lower your left leg until your foot is 2 to 3 inches off the floor. Return to the starting position, then repeat with your right leg; that’s one repetition. Think about pushing the bottom of your heel away from your hip as you lower your leg. Don’t point your toes; keep your foot flexed toward you. Lead with your heel.
Swiss-Ball Knee Tuck
Assume the pushup position with your shins resting on a Swiss ball, hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your abs tight, draw your knees toward your chest until your toes are on top of the ball. Slowly straighten your legs so the ball rolls back to the starting position. Lift your hips as you bring your knees toward you so your shins rise off the ball.
Cable Kneeling Chop
At a high-pulley cable, grab an end of rope with each hand. Go down on your right knee, with your left knee pointing toward the weight stack; this is the starting position. Rotate your torso away from the stack as you pull your hands to your chest, then down and away from you. Reverse to the start. Keep your torso upright as you extend your arms away from your body.
Lie with your knees bent and your arms and heels on the floor. Push down through your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your body into a straight line from knees to shoulders. Next, bring a knee toward your chest. Reverse the move, then repeat with your other leg. That’s one rep. Don’t allow your hips to sag at any time during the movement.