Ever hear the phrase “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life? " Well that is what we are doing here today. You can look up core workouts and get good results but why not learn how to design a good one yourself?! Let's simplify it.
The core isn't just the abdominals. We have the upper and lower abdominals, the obliques, along with the lower back. All parts must be trained adequately to have a strong, muscular, dense and downright jaw-dropping core.
The upper abs get targeted mainly when you are bringing your upper body to the lower body. Crunches and situps for example do exactly that. They bring your upper body to your lower body resulting in contractions of your upper abs. On the flip side, the lower abs get targeted when we bring our lower body to meet the upper body. Doing leg lifts, hanging knee raises, futter kicks, and scissor kicks are a few exercises that will heavily target the lower abs.
The obliques are targeted when we bend to the side or are doing twisting motions. Side crunches, sideways leg lifts, bicycle situps, windshield wipers, and Russian twists are some great examples. And then we have the lower back – this gets targeted mainly through moves such as deadlifts and back extensions.
One of our favorites to target all around core are the planks. Planks target your whole abdominal region and your lower back to really build stability throughout your entire core.
Get creative with it and mix them up by doing them for a certain amount of repetitions and then a certain amount of time. Like anything else, with practice you will be able to increase the amount of sets and reps or the amount of time you can perform each movement. We recommend you start off your core workout with just one exercise for each core muscle and then gradually add either more reps or another exercise to increase volume as you get stronger.
Now these exercises are great for the individual parts of the core, but these should be supplemented to your full exercise routine, not be the primary focus of your workout routine. Add in these core exercises with your compound movements. Exercises such as the squat, deadlift, bench press, and shoulder press are considered compound movements as more than one muscle group is being activated and stressed every time you perform a repetition. These are also the most taxing on our central nervous system and will fatigue us the quickest. However, they will also result in some of the best muscle growth and hormonal increase throughout your body, not to mention work out your core in the process!
But remember, abs are still made in the kitchen. And without a proper nutrition protocol, no matter how “strong” your core is, you won’t ever see those washboard abs that you’ve been drooling about! A good diet and some extra HIIT on top of your regular routine will help you lean down and show off your new and improved core!
Hi - I'm Ankur - Owner and creator of HPT - Houston Personal Training. This blog is here to share my most recent thoughts on subjects related to fitness. Everything that interests me, I hope you find it helpful. Please comment, share, and most importantly - have some serious fun!