We’ve hit a lot of different topics this past week all centered around building your best core!  That means having optimal mobility and control of the pelvis, strong glutes, the ability to stabilize your lumbar spine and maintaining a good level of hydration.

Today we’re putting all those pieces together and talking about what I really believe is the most essential concept in building core stability.  And that is making sure you bring a high level of awareness to each and every rep of your workout as well as selecting exercises that are at an appropriate difficulty level to provide a challenge, yet still allow you to maintain proper form.  Phewwww, that was a mouth full!

I get asked constantly: What is the best exercise for the core?  Can we add more core work to the workout?  Are we working the core muscles?

Honestly, sometimes I hate the word core!  But, it’s the best way to describe the cylinder that is your mid section and glutes that is essential to everyday function.

My answer to those questions is always the same though:  Everything you are doing is a core exercise!!  Yes, every lunge, squat, pushup, pullup, kettlebell swing, plank, etc is centered around using those core muscles in the way they were intended.  Just because an exercise doesn’t make your abs burn, doesn’t mean it’s not doing something!

Here are a few of my favorite tips for ensuring maximum core involvement in your workouts:

  • Avoid the machines, please.  They suck.  That’s it.
  • If I see you loading up weight on a smith machine to do squats, we’re not friends.  Ok, just kidding, but seriously, just get away from the machines.  They provide too much artificial stabilization and force your body into potential ranges of motion that you may not have.  It’s also too easy to go heavier than you really can because the machine is providing help.  And, they mostly work muscles in isolation which is not a realistic way to train the body long term unless you sit perfectly still bicep curling your coffee to your face everyday.
  • This one is courtesy of Meghan Calloway, treat each rep like it’s own set.  Put that much attention into one single movement and give yourself time to reset before the next.
  • If you are doing an exercise that involves hip extension, get your mind on the glutes and focus on them firing to transfer the energy.
  • Make sure to breath out on exertion and feel those deep stabilizers pull inward to your spine.
  • Be aware of your rib cage, if it flares open, it’s like cracking open a can of soda that you shook up.  We want to keep that cylinder pressurized to aide in our lifts.
  • Don’t be afraid to front squat, dead lift, swing kettlebells, do lunges, load an appropriate amount of weight or even incorporate core specific exercises into your workout.
  • And finally, keep an eye on your posture throughout the day while you are sitting at your desk chair!

Here’s a little workout I did this week that involves a lot of everything we talking about this week, and is definitely more on the advanced side with a few of the kettlebell moves.  Your goal is to complete the circuit 5 times!

Remember that if you ever have any specific questions, be sure to message me, I love hearing from you all!  Happy Weekend!

-S

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