I can’t remember the last time I had a client come in who didn’t mention wanting to tone up their midsection and having some low back issues. So I’m going to give you some great new exercises that will work the abs, obliques, AND low back. I even included a client favorite and some good plank variations. How’s that for some core awesomeness?!
Now I don’t actually have myself or my clients do a ton of ab work because they get a lot of it just from using free weights, especially kettlebells, and full body movements. So don’t overdo it. The planks can be done for time, while the others can be done for time or reps. I used a kettlebell, but a dumbbell will work just as well.
However, before I get into it I want to be clear. These exercises will strengthen and tone up the muscles of your core. They will help give you definition, but they will not burn off the fat that sits on top of them. That my friends comes from the way you eat. 🙂 I’m not trying to discourage you, but I want you to know what you can honestly expect from this stuff instead of leaving you frustrated and wondering what’s wrong with you.
But I won’t leave you hanging! You can expect more blogs about nutrition and mindset and all those goodies that will help you get where you want to be…but for now, it’s exercise time! Since these exercises are much easier to demonstrate than explain I put together a quick video for you. Below the video I give more details on the how-to’s and what to focus on!
So without further ado, 5 exercises that will strengthen and tone your core muscles and help with low back pain as well….it took everything in me not to include a dance break. 😉
Song: Pennybags by Tyler Ward (feat. Derek Ward)
The crunch is really quite overrated and not all that great for you, so this is one of the only crunch variations I do. It just so happens to also be a client favorite, so I figured I had to include it! Lay on back with knees bent and a weight above your head. Simultaneously pull the weight over your head and bring your knees to your elbows. Lower slowly.
*Tuck your pelvis and keep the low back pushed against ground for the duration of the exercise. Training this will do wonders for your low back and pelvic floor!
Progression: Straighten your legs on the way down and don’t let them rest on the ground. (You should only do this if you can keep your low back on the ground the entire time!!)
The Body Saw
In a plank position: Keeping your body as straight as possible, rock back and forth on the balls of your feet.
*Focus on not dropping your hips!
Progression: Do this with your feet on sliders. Yowza.
Side to Side Plank
In pushup position, bring right hand over and touch left hand, return to pushup position. Then bring left hand to right hand and return. Alternate back and forth.
*Resist twisting your body as you move from side to side. Try to hold a firm plank position.
Progression: Instead of just side to side, create a half circle by keeping your feet in place and walking your hands to the left 4 or 5 times. Return, then continue walking your hands to the right 4 or 5 times. Return.
If you don’t have loaded carries in your workout you should add them right now because they’re a great core exercise! It’s pretty straightforward really. Pick up a heavy weight in one or both hands and walk. If you can’t figure that out, theeeeen I can’t help you. 😉
*Keep a nice long spine. (Think tall. he he.)
Progression: Waiter Walk – Walk with weight overhead. Your elbow should be locked out.
1/2 Turkish Get Up
-Lay on your back with left arm straight out, a weight overhead in your right hand, and right knee bent so that your right foot is planted out to the side.
-First you want to roll to your side and up onto your elbow by simultaneously punching the weight up towards the ceiling, driving your left elbow into the ground, and using your foot to drive your hips onto the left side . IT IS NOT A SIT UP. This should bring you up to your side and onto your elbow. From there, press your hand into the ground and crunch up to a sitting position.
-With your left hand and right foot firmly planted, squeeze your butt and push hips up toward the ceiling as far as you can. Hold for a second.
-Return to sitting position, then use abs to lower down slowly, back to lying position.
*Start with a really light weight or no weight at all, just to get the movement down. Keep your eyes on the weight the whole time! (If you’re still not quite sure you’re getting it, grab a weight and follow along with the video.)
Now go give these puppies a try! Enjoy!
*Interested in fitness classes in Colorado Springs? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*