Who finds core work boring?

Hi everyone,

A little while ago I was training an athlete and as they got to the core section, they commented that they were a little over one of the exercises I had programmed - a side plank star variation.  As I had only been working with them for a little while I thought that they enjoyed this exercise.  So I took up the challenge of doing the core circuit with them.  And to be honest although it was tough, I quickly got bored of it.

And then I thought about what I like to do when it comes to core exercises. My favourites are based around rotational movements that challenge a range of movements and in my opinion feel like they have a greater sports application. My background in sport is Shot Put and Discus and hence these exercises sit well within these rotational based sports.  Furthermore I feel like they challenge both the core and the whole body.  And more importantly I find them fun.

Therefore I've put together a short video of these exercises for you to have a look at on my youtube channel.  I have added 3 different exercises and a few variations. 

I know there are a host of more rotational based exercises out there but the following expands a little on the exercises that appear on my video.

The exercises are:

1. Side Rotations.

Performed on a back extension machine it is important to maintain spinal and head alignment through these exercises. I have 5 different variations: 

  • Isometric holds: build up to 3-5 reps whilst holding for 10-15seconds
  • Rotations: work in the range that your strength and thoracic rotation allows: 6-8reps each side
  • Loaded rotations: you can use a plate weight, dumbbell, med ball or even try a body blade: 6-8reps each side
  • Band rotations: this adds another loaded variation and you can adjust the amount of rotation needed by changing how much band you grab: 6-8 reps each side
  • Med Ball throws: a partner is needed here and timing is key.  You can increase complexity through the ball being dropped through to a forceful med ball "throw down"

2. Sit-up Plus.

This is set up on a GHR (a back extension machine may do).  This creates quite a bit of extra ROM (hence the "plus").  I was quite sore through my rectus abs the first doing this.  The added "fly" movement adds another complexity to the exercise.  I actually got this exercise of an old European throws training video and didn't know what it was called - hence get the name simple.  Build up to 8-10 reps per set.

I also tried a single arm variation and found this to be a nice challenge.  Small subtle in the movement through initiating the movement from the hip to create a sling effect and also trying for an increase in extension at the top. Do the double arm variation for a few weeks before trying this one: 6reps per side.

3. Eccentric flywheel rotations.  

I am a fan of all woodchop cable variations.  I used a kBox (http://exxentric.com/kbox) for this one as we have one at where I work.  I enjoy the challenge of the flywheel.  The role of eccentric strength training has gained a lot of popularity of late and I feel that adding in contractions variations (i.e. concentric, isometric and eccentric) into my core routine adds both variety and increased strength capacity. I find you can really "rip" into these exercises.  And if you attached their kmeter you could also measure the amount of power in each rep.  Its a bit of a set-up but worth the effort: 6-10reps per side (remember you'll need about 3 reps to get the flywheel going).

I hope you enjoyed my small video. It was a good reminder to ensure that all aspects of my strength programs not only has a purpose to the athlete but also provides an element of enjoyment.

If you have any videos of exercises that you find effective please share.

Thanks for reading.



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