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Training your (hard)Core


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Most trainers will recommend beginning any training programme with core strengthening.  This is key to good posture and form in exercises that train the more commonly targeted major muscle groups. 

It is becoming apparent as I get more familiar with these forums that many new recruits are most concerned about the dreaded pushup.  The truth is that a strong core is necessary to do a proper pushup set in good form.  This is just an example of how it we can all benefit from core strengthening exercises.

So, I searched the forums and found little coverage on this, and figure that we can all benefit from a cache of core training exercises to incorporate into our personal training regimens.

Please post any suggested exercises with the necessary detail.

For starters:

Try doing chinups; but at the top of the movement (chin level with the bar), tuck your knees up towards you chest and then let them drop slowly before finishing the chinup rep.  It is important that you do not swing at any point in the movement.  This hits the abs and obliques well, and also has the benefit of improving hand grip due to the extended 'hang time', along with the benefits of a proper chinup set.
Excellent advice, LoneWolf! Many people don't think about their core when starting a workout program, but I agree with you on its importance 100%.

One particular 'exercise' we did at BMQ that really helped my core was one our course staff liked to call the Thinking Position  ;D - basically, it's a plank position on your elbows. I credit the many, many minutes we spent 'thinking' in that position for the fact that I was able to overcome my plateaus for both sit-ups and push-ups on the week 8 Expres test.  :nod:  The improvements on the shuttle run I credit to the interval running and spin classes with PSP staff. Great workouts.

I plan to continue on with core strengthening exercises along with running and weight lifting in my future workouts. Yoga is great for the core, too!
Too true Celticgirl, the plank is a great one for people to do at home, I can remember spending a lot of time doing it in St. Jean as well.

One thing to keep in mind, as all staff have and will surely point out: always maintain good form! If you can only hold good form in the plank for 15 seconds, do 15 seconds, rest and then go again. Doing multiple sets with good form will do you much better than having bad form, especially when it comes to pushups; PSP are super strict about form.

Another good one to do at home would be dips: put you hands on a chair, with your feet out in front of you and lower yourself down to the floor, then back up to straighten your arms. It will help you with both chinups and pushups.  Do 3 or 4 sets of your max reps 3 to 4 times a week, and you will be doing pushups like a champ in no time!