Wake up With a Strong Core

May 21, 2015

Having a powerful core does not mean having just toned up abs, but it also refers to the muscles that run up your back down to the inner and front thighs, obliques and intercostal muscles.

Core muscles are the link between the upper body and the lower body and are extremely important for preventing injuries during heavy weight exercising, posture and balance.

Stabilizer muscles are hidden or less visible and have a much lower growth potential and are often neglected by most of the training routines that hit only the main muscle groups.
On the other hand, as you may now, we use our core when we perform most of the compound movements in order to stabilize the weights we lifting, so the core is being worked out all the time, yet specific exercises can be performed to target this area even more.
Besides ab crunches and sit-ups, which are both great for developing strong ab muscles (which probably represent about 60-70% of the core) there are other various movements and exercises that one should include in its training routine in order to strengthen overlooked part of the core.

Here are three of them:
1. Plank

Plank is truly one of the most effective core blasters​ out there, often overlooked by many bodybuilders simply because it doesn’t look like much. If you haven’t tried this exercise yet make sure to add a few sets of 60 seconds each (or even more if you can) once a week. It really burns you out quickly and can be even used to replace lighter cardio sessions.

The main muscles worked are the abs, the lower back muscles and obliques – one of the most important part of the core.
Start with the basic front plank and once you got it right and it becomes easy for you try out different variations such as side planks, medicine ball planks and so on…there are ton of variations.

2. Side bends

These are great for working out the obliques. Stand with your back straight and hold a barbell behind your neck then bend each side contracting your oblique muscles. Do these slow and keep your lower body still. Move just from your torso.

This exercise uses you lower back muscles as well. Do about 15-20 reps each set.
Side bends can also be performed with dumbbells. This stretches your obliques really good and puts a little bit of pressure on your spine, so make sure to warm up before it.

3. Oblique twist / Standing cable wood chop

This is a great exercise for developing rotational strength and bringing out the obliques or side abdominals. You need to grab the handle with both hands and pull it from one side to the other. Your hips should move/twist as you pull the handle and your body weight should be transferring from one side to another. Start with a light weight until you get the form right. You should have a burning feel in the sides of your abs.

Recommended rep range is around 15 per set. Don’t go to heavy on it. If you don’t like cable machines or don’t have one you can do wood chops using a plate.

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