Power Up Your Core: 4 Exercises to Add to Your Rotation


with Personal Trainer, Amanda Roldan

This group of exercises can be added into any routine for people of any skill level. These exercises promote core stability and strength and challenge the core in a new, functional, way.

1. Pallof Press

The Pallof press is an anti-rotation exercise that will work wonders developing a stable core. You will need either a resistance band or a cable machine. (A) Set up your resistance at chest/shoulder height, grasp the handle in both hands and hold it against your chest. Stand with shoulders parallel to the anchor point of your cable/resistance band, positioned far enough away that the cable/band is pulled taut. Place your feet hip-width apart. (B) Engage your core and press the handle out with both hands so your arms are extended in front of your chest, then bring your arms back in. Do all your reps facing in one direction, then turn and stand with your other side to the machine.

Try this exercise in a half-kneeling position for an added challenge.

2. Plank with Front raise

The plank with front raise is an added challenge and modification to a traditional plank. (A) Get in plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders. (B) Brace your abs and raise your left arm in front of you until your hand is at shoulder height, keeping the arm straight throughout the motion. Return to plank, then repeat, alternating arms with each rep.

For an added challenge, hold a dumbbell in each hand

3. Step Up with overhead kettlebell hold

You may want to start with a lighter kettlebell than you usually press. This exercise extends the range of motion for the press and can make a light kettlebell feel heavy again. (A) Start with a 12″ to 18″ plyo box or sturdy bench. While performing an overhead kettlebell press with your right arm, place your left foot on the box. This is a contralateral exercise, so you will always step with the foot opposite your pressing arm. (B) Shift your weight from your back leg to the left foot on the box and step up, driving your right knee up until your leg is parallel to the box. Pause, then step back down to the ground with your right leg first.

4. Resisted bicycle kicks

You’re going to place an anchored resistance band or cable column at
knee-height, then lay on your back. (A) Pull the cable/band taut until your arms are directly over your shoulders. (B) While holding this position, you are going to kick out your legs one at a time as if you’re pedaling a bicycle. This resistance on the upper extremity forces you to isolate the abdominals and prevents you from compensating/helping your core with the rocking of your shoulders and hip flexors.

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