A strong core is the foundation of any athlete’s strength and performance. The bridge in your posterior and anterior chain, it is the link that completes a true athlete’s body and without it you can severely impede your overall performance in everything you do. Explosive power, agility and balance all rely on a strong core; the question is- what is your core strength?
To truly test your core, you need to pay attention to not just the abdominal muscles; but the spinal erectors and oblique’s too. Doing crunches all day long is neither sufficient nor effective for a strong core. Try the moves listed below to see if you have a truly strong core.
Hanging leg raises for obliques
Hang from a bar as if you would perform a wide grip pull up, don’t swing or use any momentum and let your body and legs become completely still. Flex your lats, ab column and delts to keep your body stiff throughout the exercise. This keeps the targeted muscles under tension.
Keeping your legs straight, try and raise your feet towards the ceiling. Try to keep the full range of motion steady and remember to focus on your breathing. Lower your legs and then repeat. Slow reps work best for this, roughly 5 seconds up and 5 seconds down.
Incline weighted situps for ab column.
If your gym has a decline bench press, use it! (We recommend you don’t do this on international chest day.) you can use the decline bench to do weighted sit ups and to make it harder, hold on to a plate on your chest. Start with a 10lb plate and work up to 45lb plates, if you want another variation try twisting your torso left then right at the top part of the repetition. Also tense your abs throughout the whole exercise to incorporate maximum muscle fibers.
Lastly, your lower back is where true strength comes from. I can tell you that there is no better way to test your lower back strength than with deadlifts and hyper extensions. When you master the deadlift, your squat, pull-up and every other compound lift will benefit greatly. Don’t under estimate these words of advice.