Everybody has an “ab core workout” day in the weekly routine. But how many among us actually make a concerted effort to train the core? Many people still refer to the “core” as being just your abdominals when, in fact, the core is more generally defined and includes all of the muscles that stabilize the spine, pelvis, and shoulder girdle. They run the entire length of the trunk and torso and include your glutes, hips, obliques, and rectus abdominis.
Ab Core Workout
Since the core is more than just your abs you need to follow a thorough ab core workout to be certain that you are zeroing in on the core from all viewpoints. Many of the old school, basic exercises like push-ups and squats are actually considered core exercises. And it’s commonly known that elite powerlifters who squat and bench press huge loads have the toughest cores around.
But if you truly want to color your ab core workout with some less conventional but highly effective moves, you can try any of these 5 offerings.
Task: The deadlift engages more muscle fibers than just about any other activity you can do as a human. It requires you to be strong through your hips and glutes to range to the top position, while your lower back, abs and obliques all work overtime in order to maintain proper body positioning.
Execution: Stand in front of the barbell, with the barbell touching the shins. Keeping the back as straight as possible, bend your knees, hinge forward at the hips and grasp the bar using a shoulder-width, overhand grasp. This will be the starting position. While holding the bar, start the lift by pushing through the floor with your feet while simultaneously getting your torso to the standing position as you breathe out. In the upright position, stick your chest out and take shoulder blades back. To reverse, bend the knees while simultaneously leaning the torso forward at the waist while keeping the back straight. When the plates touch the floor you are back at the initial position and ready to perform another repetition.
Tip: For a true deadlift, abolish the bounce at the bottom. The weight should be lifted from a “dead” stop, hence the nomenclature.
Task: Most of your abdominal work is done on your back but some of the best ab core workout that hit go beyond your sixer and hit your core are done in front of the floor. The barbell rollout, which can also be done with an ab wheel, is both humbling and challenging.
Execution: For this ab core workout you will need to get into a pushup position, but instead of having your hands of the floor, you will be grabbing on to a loaded barbell (10 or 25 pounds on each side) instead. This will be your starting position. While keeping a small arch on your back, lift your hips and roll the barbell towards your feet as you breathe out. As your perform the exercise, your glutes should be coming up, you should be keeping the abs tight and should maintain your back posture at all times. Your arms should also be staying perpendicular to the floor throughout the move. After a second contraction at the top, start to roll the barbell back forward to the starting position slowly as you breathe in. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
Tip: If you’re new to the barbell rollout, you can try doing rollouts from your knees. When you can do 15 or more reps, try this more challenging version.
Task: Frequently tossed into the category of exercises that alpha dudes like to label as “just for chicks,” the bridge builds brute strength and stamina through your hips and low back, helping your way through big lifts like squats, deadlifts and leg presses. In other words, you need this move in your bag o’ tricks.
Execution: Lie flat on the floor on your back with the hands by your side and your knees fixed. Your feet should be placed around shoulder width. Pushing with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. Breathe out as you do this part of the movement and hold at the top for one to two seconds. You should be on your upper shoulders while being careful not to over arch. Slowly go back to the initial position as you breathe in. Repeat for the preferred amount of reps.
Tip: Take advantage of the DOMS-inducing benefits of higher volume sets in the start but work your way toward heavyweight, lower-rep sets where you have a barbell positioned across the front of your hips.
Dumbbell farmer walk
Task: Carrying heavy stuff from here to there places a huge demand on all the muscles of your core. Get truly good at it, while bolstering your body against injury, by mixing this move into your routine.
Execution: Begin by standing among two dumbbells. After gripping the handles, lift them up by driving through your heels, keeping your back straight with your chin up and shoulders back. Walk taking short, slow steps, and make sure you breathe. Travel for a chosen distance, typically about 100 feet. Your form should look like that of a farmer walking with a heavy wheelbarrow. This move also challenges your grip strength and elevates your heart rate.
Tip: For even greater ab core workout, try this move’s sister lift: the suitcase carry. The execution is the same, only you perform your sets carrying a single, heavy dumbbell on one side.
Dumbbell side bend
Task: Once a popular part of common oblique training curriculum, the side bend is not as de rigeur as it once was. Lifters feared that this would widen their waists by thickening the walls of the obliques. The truth is that regular side bends will not only enhance your waistline aesthetic but it can also greatly improve lateral spinal strength and stability, which is a huge change maker in nearly any lift but especially on overhead moves.
Execution: Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell with the left hand (palm facing the leg) as you have the right hand placed behind the back of your head. Your feet should be placed at shoulder width. While keeping your back straight and your head up, bend only at the waist to the left as far as possible. Breathe in as you bend to the side. Then hold for a second and come back up to the initial position as you exhale. Now repeat the movement but bending to the left instead. Hold for a second and come back to the initial position. Repeat for the desired amount of reps and then switch up hands.
Tip: It’s easy to let form deviation creep into this move. Go only as far as you are relaxed going on the negative portion of each rep and focus on keeping your movement left to right
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