Your core is your powerhouse. You need a strong, stable core to protect your spine and give you the durability you need to enjoy all of life’s activities. Training the core also involves learning how to resist rotation and control rotation, which is essential for a wide range of summer activities, including water skiing, hiking, rock climbing and surfing. The following summer-inspired core circuit will help you train all aspects of the core, which, for the purpose of this article, is defined as the area from your clavicle to your mid-thigh.
Set your timer to 30 seconds for each exercise, with 10 to 15 seconds to transition between exercises. Complete all the exercises in order and then rest for 60 to 90 seconds before running through the circuit two to three more times. If your form starts to suffer, your body is probably becoming fatigued. When this happens, reduce your weight or modify your workout to help avoid injury. Work toward completing it successfully for the full amount of time suggested.
1. Stir the Pot
Using a stability ball, assume a position similar to a push-up position, with your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the ball. Position your legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your plank in a solid, stable position as you begin to move the ball in small circular motions (i.e., stirring the pot). Make sure you change directions.
2. TRX Rip Stack
Stand with your right hip facing the anchor and your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. The palm of your right hand (power hand) is facing up and the palm of your left hand (base hand) is facing down. Pull with your left hand as you push with your right until the Rip Trainer is perpendicular to your body. Your left hand and the Rip Trainer will be against your hip to help stabilize your core. Make sure your torso is tall, shoulders are set and your chest is up; don’t round forward. Hold for about 10 to 20 seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Continue holds until time is up.
3. DVRT Lateral Bag Drag
Use a Core Ultimate Sandbag (USB). Assume a push-up position with the legs wider than the hips. Place the end of the USB under the right armpit. Keeping the torso stable, lift the left hand and reach for the outside handle of the USB. Slowly drag the USB under the body, being sure to maintain contact with the floor throughout the movement. Place the left hand down and reset your body position if you have lost your stable platform. Lift the right hand and slowly pull the USB under the body. The goal is to keep a stable platform with the hips even to the floor during the drag.
4. TRX Overhead Back Extension
Adjust the TRX Suspension Trainer to mid-length. Stand facing the anchor point with legs shoulder-width apart. Grab the handles and lift your hands overhead, keeping tension in the straps. With your legs extended, hinge at the hips and lower toward the floor. Don’t shrug at the shoulders, but maintain a tall torso; you should look like a V at the bottom of the movement. Drive your heels into the ground to begin activating your posterior chain, and pull the handles back to the starting position in overhead full-body extension.
5. Tall Kneeling Pallof Press With Bands
Wrap a medium band around a pole and position your body sideways to the pole. Place your knees directly under your hips and tuck your toes, pressing them into the floor. Grab the band with the outside hand and place the other hand on top. Keep tension in the band; position your elbows under your shoulders and hands at your sternum. Set your shoulders by engaging your lats and keeping your torso stiff. Slowly extend the band to extension and return to the starting position. At extension, your elbows should be in line with where you have the band anchored. Make sure you perform on both sides.
6. Hanging Pike or V Raise
Grab ahold of tension bar, making sure your feet don’t touch the ground. Retract your shoulders and, with control, begin to lift the legs until they are parallel with the floor. Hold a beat and then repeat. To modify, bend your knees. If you want to advance the move, try holding a straddle position. The goal is to keep the torso from swinging and to avoid using momentum.
7. DVRT Dead Bug
Use a Core USB. Lay flat on your back and bend your knees and position them over your hips. Grab the outside handles of the USB and extend the it directly over your chest. Press your shoulders into the ground, creating a “brace” with your torso. Keep your back pressed against the floor as you slowly lower and extend one leg, keeping the other leg in place. Alternate the legs, using control. If you are able to keep your torso stable, begin to move the USB over your forehead while you move your legs.