Your core is more than just those glorious six-pack abs that reward you for a regular work out. The core is central in almost all of life’s activities. It facilitates movement such as picking up groceries, climbing stairs, and sitting with good posture. It is the body’s powerhouse that prevents injury and protects our vital organs. In addition to glutes, lats and traps, your core muscles include the transverse abdominals, pelvic floor muscles, internal/external obliques and the rectus abdominis. Developing core strength is vital in improving fitness.

Squats, overhead presses and deadlifts help us become more athletically dynamic. We all know and love them, but trainers recommend two additional movements to engage the core in a different way. Try adding these to your weekly workout.


The Plank
The plank helps sculpt your waistline and improve your posture by building isometric strength. This classic exercise is one of the best you can do for your core.

Start by getting into a press up position. Bend your elbows and rest your weight onto your forearms and not on your hands. Some people find the plank is too much for the elbows. If you are one of these people, you can perform the plank with extended arms. Make sure to always leave a small hollow in your hands to protect your wrists.

Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine. Hold for as long as you can up to one minute. When you can hold for three sets of one minute, it’s time to move on.

Progress by holding the plank on your hands and bringing one knee to your chest, pausing for one to two seconds, and then returning to start position. Alternate with the other knew, holding for one or two seconds, and then go back to start position. Do this for one minute.

Medicine Ball Side Throw
Stand with your feet hip width apart with either a wall or partner on one side. Place the ball on the hip opposite the wall. Rotate your torso and arms toward the wall using both speed and power as you shift your weight to the opposite foot. Release the ball into the wall.

Catch the ball when it bounces back from the wall or have your partner hand it back to you. Repeat 10 times on each side.

You may want to try the Cable Horizontal Rotation, which uses a cable positioned at chest height in place of the ball.