In my previous post, I introduced you to my Favorite Five core routine. If you’re anything like the folks I train, this may not look like any core workout you’ve ever tried.
I promise you that those exercises truly are the moves that almost every person I train must spend time doing first; they are the critical core fundamentals, the foundation of everything that comes after. Doing them regularly – even if you do nothing else – will make you less injury prone as well as allow you to move better, feel stronger and appear taller.
Read More: Strength Challenge
Why? Because what good are sturdy concrete walls if they sit atop a gelatin foundation? You may have a false sense of security about your core stability and strength if your regular routine isn’t grounded in the basics. Invest the time in my Favorite Five and a month from now you’ll thank me.
However, there will come a point when it’s time to progress so I’ve hand-selected — straight out of my own personal arsenal — six minimal-equipment, crunch-free, secret weapon moves to take your core to a whole new level. I’ve even included some awesome variations for when you’re ready to kick it into overdrive.
The first step is to master the plank on your knees. Once you’ve got that down, you can graduate to the full plank on your toes. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Have you met the plank’s fabulous cousins? Allow me to introduce you! Try a single-leg plank or a single-arm plank — then maybe try your hand at the single-arm single-leg plank.
Hold a weight in your left hand and stand tall with your legs a few inches wider than shoulder-width apart, right foot pointing forward and left foot turned out 45 degrees. Raise your right arm up straight. Keeping your legs perfectly straight, totate from your torso as you reach the weight down toward your foot and reach as high you can with your right hand; look up toward your right hand. Your torso should be straight and feel long. Press into your legs and slowly return to the start. Complete all reps then repeat to other side. Work up to 3 sets of 8-10 reps per side.
Ramp it up: Hold a weight in your top hand as well.
Stability Ball Knee Tucks
Start in the plank position with your arms straight, body long and toes balances on a stability ball. Squeeze your abs as you pull your knees in towards your chest to roll the ball forward. Think of rotating your hip bones up toward your low ribs. Pause then slowly and with control return to the start. Work your way up to 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Ramp it up: Keep your legs straight and try out the Stability Ball Jackknife.
Alternating Reverse Lunge with Ball Twist
Stand tall, holding stability ball against your chest, elbows bent. Step back into a reverse lunge with right leg as you straighten arms to press the ball out in front of your chest, keeping hips level and “squared up.” (Pull hip of the back leg up and drop front hip to twist the ball over your left hip.) When you can no longer keep your hips square stop twisting and return to start. Switch legs and repeat. Work your way up to 3 sets of 20 reps (10 reps on each side).
Ramp it up: Pull the knee of your back leg up toward your chest and pause before returning to start.
Stability Ball Pass-Over
Lie on your back with a stability ball squeezed between your knees, abs tights. In one smooth movement, hinge at the hips to raise your legs and upper body up off the floor. Grab the stability ball with your hands and slowly lower back to start. Continue lifting and passing the ball back and forth from hands to feet to complete the set. Work up to 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Ramp it up: Increase the size of the stability ball or squeeze it between ankles.
Start in plank position balanced on forearms and toes. Bend right knee into chest, then left, alternating in a running movement. As you move stay slow and in control, keeping hips low as you try to avoid rocking from side to side. Work your way up to 3 sets of 20 reps (10 reps on each side).
Ramp it up: Do this move with your forearms on a stability ball. Whoa!
Try these guys out and you’ll see why they’re my secret weapon moves. Then, let me know here or on Twitter which ones work best for you!