If you are anything like me, you may find core workouts to not be as exciting as other days in the gym. You also probably find any excuse to skip a core workout by telling yourself that today is a good rest day, or even just doing, do I dare say it… cardio instead.
If I am completely honest I don’t spend a lot of time focusing solely on my core in my own personal workouts. Now, you must be thinking how could that be? I’ll assure you that my core is not neglected but I’ll fill you in on some of my own secrets to how I keep my core strong without doing a single sit up.
Keep in mind, to achieve the strongest core and most defined abs, there is no replacement to isolating and focusing on the core.
Compound Exercises are a great way to have your abs work constantly while focusing on other body parts and moving a decent amount of weight. You would be surprised how much the core plays a role whether you are doing squats, deadlifts, bench press or even just front loaded exercises (like Goblet Squats or Front Racked Reverse Lunges).
Your abs have to stabilize the body, protect the spine and transfer power throughout the body during the movement. You are basically holding a plank the entire time during an exercise.
- Heavy Carries -
Heavy Carries have multiple benefits, one being targeting the abs. Doing a Farmer Carry works your posture muscles, meaning your core, without your core working during this exercise you would crumble like a bag of rocks, but not only are you working your ab muscles in the front, but your posterior (back) muscles as well, keeping the body in a straight line.
When you keep the right engagement during a carry, you also work your shoulders, upper back, and your traps. To keep things interesting as well there are many variations of a carry, or even better a one-arm carry to engage the obliques as well as everything else.
-Unilateral Loaded Exercises-
Speaking of one-arm carries brings me to my last secret core exercise, unilateral (one sided) exercises. Whenever you only load one side of the body, your oblique muscles have to keep engage and hold your body from falling over towards the side with the weight.
Think of holding a side plank but now we can hold a side plank while working other parts of the body. Instead of doing a shoulder press with two hands, load it onto one arm and feel the difference. You probably already do lunges with two dumbbells, try holding one dumbbell in one hand and be surprised how much the core works doing your sets.
Try adding some of these components into your workout program and see the difference in your abs without really focusing on it. If you want some more ideas and exercises feel free to reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can share my favorites with you, or follow me on Instagram here.