Proper core training involves more than burning through a few crunches at the end of your workout. This month we'll show you how to hit all the muscles of the core, including the deeper stabilizing muscles that you rarely hear about. By training all the muscles of the midsection, you will look tighter and feel stronger.
Our core workout consists of six exercises broken up into two circuits. Perform the first circuit straight through, rest for up to one minute; complete the second circuit straight through, rest for up to one minute, and then repeat the entire workout for a total of three to five rounds.
Bridged rotation: Take a seat on a stability ball while holding a medicine ball or weight plate. Roll out on the ball until your head is supported but keep your body weight on your shoulder blades and feet. Knees are bent at 90 degrees to form a bridge position on the ball. Extend your arms toward the ceiling and engage your abs. Slowly rotate your upper body to one side until your arms are parallel to the floor. Rotate back to your starting position for 15 reps and repeat on the other side.
Planked rollout: Get in a plank position with your forearms resting on a stability ball. Maintain a straight line from shoulder to ankle. While keeping your body stationary, slowly extend your arms forward as far as you can without losing tension on your abs. Return to your starting point and repeat for 15 reps.
V-sit: While lying on your back, squeeze a stability ball between your feet with your arms and legs extended. As you raise your legs, crunch upward and reach toward the stability ball. Grab it at the top and control back down to your starting point. Repeat for 15 reps being sure to raise and lower your arms and legs at the same time while transferring the ball back and forth between your hands and feet.
Lateral hip raise: Assume a side plank position while lying on your side. You should have two points of contact with the floor -- your right forearm and your right foot. Make sure your bottom elbow is placed directly below your shoulder and your hips are hovering off the floor. Reach your top arm up toward the ceiling as you try to push your hips as high as possible. Slowly drop back to your starting point. Complete 15 reps and repeat on the other side.
Two-point plank: Assume a normal plank position with your forearms resting on a bench or on the floor. Tighten your abs and maintain a straight line from shoulder to ankle. As you raise your right arm, reach forward while simultaneously raising your left leg. Extend your arm forward as you extend your opposite leg backward. Reverse back to your starting point and alternate sides for a total of 15 reps.
Cable rotations: Take hold of a cable machine handle set at waist height. Position your feet at shoulder width, keeping your knees slightly bent and hips pushed back. With abs engaged, rotate your upper body away from the machine while keeping your lower body stable. Once you're fully rotated, control back to your starting position. Repeat for 15 repetitions and then switch directions for the same number of reps.
Add this workout to your weekly routine for a great way to tighten and tone your entire midsection.
For a video of this workout, visit PushFitnessTraining.com/blog.
• Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at PushFitnessTraining.com.