Functional Core Exercises

October 2, 2013

Best functional core exercises to aid you in getting that stubborn six-pack!

When training the core be sure to work the entire circumference.  Your lower back and obliques are just as important as the front abdominal region.  The core’s main function is to protect our spine by acting as a stabilizer.  When our core is in motion it usually rotates (eg. golf swing, judo throw, pushing a shopping cart at Target and turning the corner, etc.).  It also naturally always works in conjunction with your hip flexors, so movements that allow this combination are important.   Now that you have this knowledge you should be selecting core movements that will not only make you “look good”,  but the movements chosen should also engage your hip flexors.  Picking exercises that help improve our body’s capability to stabilize and rotate while helping achieve those flat abs will get you more “bang for your buck!”

Most gym enthusiasts, or anyone simply trying to get a nice stomach, will often choose flexion and extension movements (sit-ups and crunches) and totally neglect rotation and stabilizing movements.  The common person will do high repetitions of standard “ab exercises” that basically go up and down, up and down.  However, by doing heavy weighted sit-ups it can force the hip flexors into the movement.  Once my personal training clients can do 20 repetitions of a sit-up then it is time to do some weighted sit-ups.  The abdominal is a muscle and can grow and get stronger when stressed with heavier resistance.

Here is a list of some of the exercises I use to train my personal clients.  If you want a core that looks great but is ALSO strong and functional be sure to add these exercises into your repertoire.

1) Suitcase dead-lift (Stabilization movement)

2) Heavy dumb bell farmers walk (Stabilization movement)*also awesome for grip training

3) Cable rotations (rotation movement-engages hip flexors)*great movement for judokas and fighters

4) Grapplers Twist (Rotation/stabilization movement-engages hip flexors) -*one of my favorites

5) Heavier barbell squats (stabilization movement) -* the position of the barbell on your upper back forces your core to become stronger and stronger as your ability to squat more weight increases. —-Someone that squats 300lbs will always have a stronger core than someone who squats 150lbs.

***DISCLAIMER***Doing this alone will not get you that desired stomach BUT it will surely help.  You still need to eat right and lower your body fat to achieve it!!