This is the second installment of a post I wrote over a year ago. It’s been a long time coming for How to Build your core with 5 unique exercises Part 2. Enjoy!
1. The Anti-rotation Dead Bug
This is a twofer deal! You’re training both anti- rotation AND anti-extension. Position your body 1-2 feet away and perpendicular to the cable machine so the line of pull is directly next to you. Interlace your fingers around the handle grip. Bend your legs 90 degrees, and keep your low back gently pressed into the floor for the duration of your set. Take a deep breath, exhale and extend one leg. Inhale as you bring it back in, then switch legs. Repeat. Avoid letting the cable pull you over to one side, keep you arms straight up overhead and your scapula locked into the floor.
2. Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
At first glance this looks like a chest exercise, and it is. BUT, since you’re holding the dumbbell in one hand only, your opposite side oblique is working overtime. This single arm position requires more bracing and stability from the other side of the body. This is one of my favorite exercises to implement for singling out the weaker side and making it strong while helping to improve coordination.
3. Quadruped Knee Taps
The quadruped knee taps connect the core to the lower body and help build serious core stability. No equipment required, this exercise can be done anytime, anywhere. The goal is to minimize rotation each time you tap your opposite side knee. This requires the lower body to tighten up and remain solid throughout each set. These are much harder than they look!
4. V-Sit with Single Arm Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Ben Bruno, one of my favorite trainers, popularized this exercise about a year ago. I’m still not entirely sure what the real name for it is, but you’re essentially holding a V-Sit posture and simultaneously performing a single arm DB Lateral Raise. So, this name sounds about right.
The V-Sit is a difficult posture for most people to hold for long, so if you need to modify it, I recommend bending your knees and gently resting your heels on the ground while leaning back. This will take some stress off the lumbar spine while still allowing you to get the most from this movement. Use a light dumbbell for the lateral raise, no need to be a hero by trying to lift heavy weight here. That isn’t what this is about.
5. Stability Ball ‘Stir the Pot’
The stability ball or Swiss ball as it is often called, has been a staple piece of equipment in almost every gym for decades. While at first it seems like a wimpy waste of space, it is quite versatile. For core training, there are a myriad of exercises you can do on it. This is one that puts you in a plank position with your forearms on the ball. Make sure your feet are stable on the ground and you don’t sag your lower back, keep your body braced and stable. Move your arms in a clockwise, then counterclockwise position like you’re ‘stirring a pot.’
As the old saying goes, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” While I don’t completely disagree with this sentiment, it should instead say, “Abs are made in the gym performing intelligent core exercises for months on end while also having stellar genetics, and eating in a consistent caloric deficit.”
That still sounds dumb, but it’s a little more accurate.
Understand that you first must build your abdominal muscles THEN shed body fat to reveal your hard work. I don’t believe that walking around with a six-pack 24/7 is a worthwhile goal, but if you do, then go for it! Just know that immense sacrifices will need to be made in an effort to achieve your goal. Instead of setting an aesthetic goal, I recommend opting to build a stable core to protect your low back from injury and keep you strong, pain free and fully capable for the rest of your life.