Building an Elite Core: 2 Exercises for Serious Core Strength
In a sedentary culture where office jobs and sitting have negative effects on our bodies, we know how important building a solid mid-section is — or do we? Working towards full strength and abs you can’t wait to show off is easier than you think.
Your core strength is what gives your full body the support it needs to do more, with fewer daily aches and pains. It’s the foundation for how the rest of your body moves.
The cool part? You can make great strength gains in your abs, obliques and lower back with these two GB skills — scaled from beginner to advanced.
The first step is trying it! Check out these tips to start working towards your solid core goals.
Skill: Front Lever
The illusive front lever is gaining much popularity as of late thanks to CrossFit and calisthenics. However, did you know that this bodyweight skill has its roots in the sport of gymnastics?
Think of the front lever as a body weight variation of the straight arm pulldown. Imagine bracing your core rigid. With your arms held straight out in front of you (at shoulder height) begin pulling your arms down to your hips.
This is the primary role of your latissimus dorsi— or simply just “lats”. But in the case of the front lever, your entire body is working hard to hold itself up. Especially your core.
The Foundation Series provides the tools you need to build your core and upper body strength.
First Step: Hollow Body Hold
Developing a strong core is not only beneficial for performing activities of daily life, but also for acquiring the more advanced front lever hold. The best way to start is by training the hollow body position.
To get into the hollow body, lie on your back with your legs together and extended and your arms reaching overhead. Begin by drawing your navel deep towards your spine. This activates the transverse abdominis, your deepest abdominal layer.
From this position, lift your upper back and legs a few inches off the floor. Build this hold for up to 60 sec without letting your lower back arch.
Skill: Straddle Planche
When it comes to gravity-defying gymnastic exercises, the straddle planche reigns supreme. This unique blend of raw strength, power, balance, and flexibility is most definitely more than just a party trick.
This iconic movement strongly targets your front shoulders, upper back, core, and hips. We might as well as every other muscle in the body to that list, because it requires total body tension and superb hip mobility to master.
That’s mostly due to the fact that you will need to support the weight of your entire body held horizontal with nothing but your own two hands.
First Step: Planche Lean
To understand what muscles are working in the straddle planche, you must first build the necessary upper body strength to help you progress.
The absolute best way to accomplish this is by working the planche lean from the GB Foundation Series. From a plank position, spread your shoulder blades wide until your upper back rounds while keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe.
This is your starting position for the planche lean.
With your hands stacked over your shoulders, slowly lean forward until you can slide the tops of your feet along the floor without losing your shape. Lean as far as you can and hold for 20-30 seconds.
As you may have already guessed, mastering the front lever and straddle planche is no easy task. It will require a step by step plan to achieve. And there’s no better blueprint on the market than the GymnasticBodies Foundation Courses — your first steps towards greatness.
When it comes to GymnasticBodies core strength, we’ve got all the progressions you crave to develop the muscles you need for big strength gains in your active pursuits and a greater, more sustainable, quality of life.