Having greater core strength helps you to maintain better stabilization, which can lead to fewer injuries and enhanced performance. At the Pura Vida Urban Fitness brooklyn bootcamp, we use these three moves to build build strength and power in the core:
- Half Turkish Get-up: The half turkish get up requires stabilization of the shoulder musculature while you produce movement through the abdomen and hips. To do a half Turkish get-up: You can do these without weight, but they are more effective/easier to maintain form-wise with a weight. Take the weight in your right hand and fully extend the arm so that the weight is over your right shoulder. Your gaze will stay on the weight the whole time and the weight will remain directly above your shoulder the whole time. Plant your right foot a few inches from your glutes and use your left hand to help you sit up – keep the weight above your right shoulder. Drive your hips into the air by pushing into the ground through your left hand and your right foot – again, keep the weight above your shoulder and your eyes on the weight. Return to the floor by following the reverse motion on the way down. Aim for 10 reps and then repeat on the opposite side.
- Single leg bridges: single leg bridges activate your posterior chain. People often forget that their cores consist of not only their abs (transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques), but also the intrinsic muscles along the spine (multifidus), and some of the back muscles (specifically the erector spinae). To do a single leg bridge: lay on your back with your knees bent and your heels placed a few inches away from your glutes. Straighten one leg and bring it about six inches off the ground. Press into the heel of your grounded leg to bring your hips as high as possible off the floor. Return to the floor and repeat – aim for 10 to 15 reps on each leg per set.
- Pushups with hip flexion/abduction: This exercise tones your chest, stabilizes your shoulders, and strengthens your abdominals and obliques. To do pushups with hip flexion/abduction: Start in the top of a push up position (a plank position). You can use whatever hand configuration feels best to you – or play around with the hand configuration to work your muscles at different angles. Do a push up. When you return to the starting position, keep your body in straight alignment through the core (aka plank position) and bring your right knee to the exterior of your right elbow. Repeat. Alternate legs or do all reps on one leg before switching. If your arms tire, you can also do this exercise sans pushup. Or make it more challenging by moving your knee to the outside of your elbow at the bottom of your pushup motion. To start, aim for 10 reps on each leg per set.
Give these moves a try and let us know how it goes! Happy core building!