Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
If every core workout you’ve ever done begins and ends with situps, you’ve only just scratched the surface of your potential. Thinking about training your midsection only as a supplement to the rest of your workout or as it relates to your six-pack muscles is a big mistake—you’re missing out on essential strength gains that can make your whole body better.
“If you take a look around your gym, you’ll notice that most private training sessions start with core work,” says trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S. “That’s because core activation is essential before handling heavy loads (or any load for that matter). You may have a six-pack, but do you have core stability?”
To build and hone that stability, you don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel and challenge yourself with overly-difficult maneuvers. Take a note from Atkins and start with basic moves. If you’re not a beginner, even better—you can work to keep getting stronger.
Perform Better Exercise Mini Band Set
“These are a few exercises that are typically considered ‘beginner ab workouts’—but the reason they’re basic is because they enforce the proper spine alignment that we should be taking into your training days, especially if you are squatting with a load or doing deadlifts,” she says. “After all, most lower back injuries happen because we’re not actively engaging our core, or if we have mobility issues.”
Take on this series of basic abs exercises before your next heavy lifting day. You’ll need some space to spread out, a mat for your back, mini exercise bands, and, if you want, a yoga block.
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If you want a strong core, make sure you master the basics first 💪🏽 Here are some of my favorite ab exercises that are beginner friendly. I often throw these in the beginning of my training sessions to help fire up the core for the workout ahead 😅 ⠀ 🔸Short-Lever Side Plank 🔸Banded Deadbug 🔸Hip Raise 🔸Elevated Plank 🔸Supine Leg Extension ⠀ For exercise prescription (aka reps and sets), make sure you join my private Facebook group!
Perform each movement for 30 seconds to 1 minute
Run through the workout once as a warmup, or three times through as a standalone abs session. Atkins suggests that you take on the whole series—but if you want to pick and choose, the most essential are the banded deadbug, supine leg extension, hip raise, and plank.
Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move. You can also take on her new 30 day challenge in our streaming All Out Studio app.
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