Exercises you SHOULD be doing (#2)

Part 2 of 5, this post will detail and demo some killer core moves. All too often we overlook our core by only tagging on a few sit ups and rounds of plank to finish the session. Like you do with your other muscle groups you need to invest sufficient time and effort into developing your abdominal region. This includes time under tension and simply not going through the motions. Time permitting, I like to dedicate a good chunk of time per week to core exercises. The 4 exercises below are a great way of developing core strength and should give you a few ideas to change up your routine next time you hit the gym. Give them a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy.

#1 Barbell roll-outs

The barbell roll out is an awesome exercise to hit your rectus abdominus. Start on your knees with hands positioned shoulder width apart (the wider you place your hands the harder the move becomes). Slowly roll the bar out and try to get your nose as close to the floor as possible. Don't sacrifice form for that extra bit of range. Try reps of 8-10. 

Once you get good from your knees you can progress the move to your feet. I like to think I have a strongish core but still can't fully roll out without assistance! Using a band (in the vid below) helps take some of the weight off. Position it around your belly button and roll the bar out as you would off of your knees. Again try reps of 8-10. 

#2 Barbell Sit-up raises

I saw this exercise on IG a few weeks back and have started implementing it regularly into my sessions. The kettle bells attached at either end create a lot of instability (here I'm using 4kg kettle bells on each side). To regress this exercise I would start with just the bar alone (pressed above your chest like you would have at the start of a bench press) & then sit up whilst pressing above your head and shoulders. 

Once you get good at this attach some kettle bells at either side (as shown below) and repeat the same movement. The unstable load not only requires core strength but places huge emphasis on the shoulder stabilisation muscles - so you'll feel it big time in your shoulders too. Try reps of 6 to start with as its quite a challenging move.

#3 Banded Trunk lateral flexion

This is an awesome exercise to improve your lateral flexion through the spine. A lot of us can be stiff through this range of movement but this exercise works on this big time. 

Attach a band to a bar, have your hands at shoulder width apart and pull the band down. Once set squeeze your glutes, brace your core and slowly flex from side to side. Try reps of 4 each side to start with. 

#4 Kettlebell pass throughs

Great variation of the straight arm plank, this exercise is up there with one of my favourites. NB you must fire up your glutes and lock your hips to stop them swaying from side to side (you'll notice I sway slightly). Aim for reps of 6 each arm. In the demo below I'm using 16kg Kettle bell although start off light to get the correct technique nailed down.