Abs have become an important aesthetic icon for individuals who are “in-shape” or “shredded”. That being said, the application of the core muscles is more significant to the average Joe / Jane rather than just the looks. When I say “core”, I don’t just mean that washboard muscle below your chest. The core (trunk muscles) include your abdominal muscles, obliques and lower back (erector spinae). Besides being a popular body part to post on your Tinder profile, your trunk muscles carry two other important tasks:
- They help prevent the body from performing unnecessary
movement (Local Stabilization).
- They help transfer the force generated between the lower
and upper body during movement or exercise (Global Stabilization).
When Should I Do Core?
During my sessions, I use core exercises as both Preparation Work (Prep-Work) or as a Burnout. The purpose of doing core in your Prep-Work is to engage / activate the trunk so the body is primed to handle the load of the workout ahead. Here at the Iron Performance Center, we understand the importance of trunk musculature when lifting. Since your core plays a pivotal role when optimizing mechanics, we make sure each athlete is properly prepped to pump some serious numbers.
If you want some serious burnout at the end of your workout, all you need to do is just stack a set of core exercises together. Put together your own superset, tri-set or quad-set of exercises to really challenge yourself! Still not “feeling the burn”? Do your newly created finisher under a certain time limit. If that doesn’t get you holding your stomach, you’re doing it wrong. Check some sample supersets below!
Complete 2-4 Sets @ 1 Minute of Each
- Bicycle Crunch
- Bear Dog
Complete AMRAP in 5 Minutes
- MB Rollout x10
- Plate OH Crunch x30
- Russian Twist x40
What Trunk Exercises Should I Choose?
Selecting which exercises you want to do can really depend on what you are trying to accomplish. Regardless of whether you are trying to achieve a stunning six-pack, reduce back pain or lift hundreds of pounds, the main goal is to ensure that you stimulate ALL aspects of your trunk muscles. Below are some examples you can use in your own routine:
Front (Anterior) Exercises:
- Elevated Push-Ups on BOSU
- TRX Inverted Rows
- Bicycle Crunch
- Hanging Knee Raise
Back (Posterior) Exercises:
- Single Leg Deadlifts
- Goblet Squats
- Medicine Ball Rotational Throw
- Russian Twists
- Landmine Twist
- Side Plank
Here’s what you need to know. No matter how short your workout is, I’d always recommend spending some time (not all your time) either before or after your lift working on some core muscle exercises. Incorporating trunk exercises in your training or workouts can help you achieve a new Personal Best or reduce your chances of an injury. Use that six-pack for something other than just your love life.
PS: We have this awesome Facebook Group that’s free to join! It’s full of people just like you looking to get more out of their health and fitness training. If you want to gain more knowledge and collaborate with coaches and folks just like you, you should join our Iron Association absolutely free! If you want a ton of free resources, an awesome Facebook group and weekly tips sent to you at no cost, use the box below and join the IPC community. Trust me, you don’t want to miss the content we send out.
Ryan specializes in general fitness training and active lifestyle performance. He coaches the everyday hero looking to get in the best shape possible. Ryan specializes in balance and gait training for older individuals.