Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Purposeful training goes beyond selecting an exercise for a targeted body part. While initiating training abs’ (core) exercises, selecting the right one can be tricky as some movements can be counterproductive and do more “harm” than good.
Core training involves focus and intention. When fatigued, our core muscles give up, but our body continues to put an effort to get the job done by recruiting other muscles such as our back. This can be harmful; cause back injuries which could lead to a nagging sore back or even having you temporarily out of training.
So how do we avoid this?
Select exercises that do not put our spine in repetitive flexion and extension. Choose the exercises that strengthen hip and spine stability and intentional movement.
Here are three safe and underrated core exercises that you can include in your training to create a stable body and help with hypertrophy in the muscles to grow abs.
Stability ball ‘stir the pot’
This exercise works as an anti-flexion of the spine and does not put unwanted pressure on the disks. By ‘stirring the pot’ you created an unstable surface, requiring your core strength to stabilize the trunk.
This exercise works as an anti-lateral flexion and grip strength with the offset load. Grip strength is often the breaking point for bigger lifts. By choosing the heaviest weight you can, hold and remain in a tall, upright posture or walk around slowly to work the obliques and grip muscles. A fantastic, safe exercise that’s functional and can help with heavier lifts in your program.
Banded walkouts with front raise
In this exercise, the band creates tension in one direction, forcing you to engage your core muscles (abs + glutes) to avoid rotation. This is an anti-rotation and anti-extension exercise. Walking out increases the intensity of the anti-rotation while raising the band overhead with a neutral spine creates an anti-extension resistance, working the front abdominals. This exercise includes two movements; therefore, we create an even more efficient movement in two directions.
Start timing your breathing so you exhale with the contraction of the abs (or during the hard parts of your exercise). This will help in better recruitment of those muscles and develop a proper form as you fatigue.
Give it a try!