Hello Everyone. Today’s article is a guest post from FitnessOrStrength.com
We often use isolation exercise such as weighted crunches to target specific areas of our core, in order to stimulate growth or improve core strength. However, isolation exercises don’t provide the same level of overload that compound exercises can and if you’re like me, you may also find lots of core exercises boring and repetitive.
Short term, implementing new compound exercises that work your core could reduce your need to isolate your core muscles and could help to keep you motivated by reducing the monotony. Long term, improving your core strength can also benefit your ability to both lift more weight on strength exercises such as squats and help you to keep strict form, especially when lifting close to your one rep max.
So if you’re looking to improve core stability for performance or you’re simply bored of repetitive crunches, incorporate one or more of the four compound exercises detailed below:
Single Hand Snatches
Single hand snatches are an excellent exercise for both core and shoulders. They can be performed with a dumbbell or barbell and look simply magnificent. While the technique for a one arm snatch looks very difficult, they are in fact much easier than the conventional Olympic barbell snatch. It is recommended to start out with a dumbbell for a few weeks in order to learn the technique and strengthen your core and grip until you progress to lifting with a barbell. Start by placing the dumbbell or barbell parallel in front of you, then squat down and grip the bar as you would with a deadlift or conventional snatch. Explode up using your hips and resist the temptation to use your biceps. Finally, jump up, shrug and lock out into a snatch position.
One arm snatches were typically performed by strongmen and circus performers in the late 1800s and early 1900s but lost popularity over the years. While single arm exercises are still performed in some kettlebell training routines, single arm barbell snatches are particularly uncommon.
One arm snatches aren’t great for building size, but are fantastic for improving core strength and stability, reducing imbalances and improving speed.
Suitcase deadlifts, like the name suggests, involve picking up a weight in the same way as you would with a suitcase. They feel fantastic at working the obliques, spinal erectors and lower back (quadratus lumborum).
Start by selecting a dumbbell or barbell around 25% of your one rep max for deadlifts. Then stand next to the weight (side on) and bend down into a squat position to grip the bar with a single arm. Use your legs to stand up while you breathe out and avoid using your biceps to pull the weight. It’s best to stick with sets of between 2-8 reps and be careful not to over exhaust yourself as you may injure your back if you regularly attempt to lift very close to your 1 rep max.
Turkish Get Ups
While best known for bulking up your serratus and improving shoulder stability, Turkish get ups stimulate the balance systems, improve spatial awareness and improve strength across a multitude muscles.
Turkish get ups are difficult to explain without video guidance due to the number of steps involved so watch carefully below!
One Arm Dumbbell rows
One arm dumbbell rows are most likely an exercise that you really didn’t expect to see, but anyone who has regularly lifted heavy with them will know that your oblique’s and lower back (quadratus lumborum) will get assaulted. There are a number of ways to perform one arm dumbbell rows, including twisting your core and using it to help pull the weight through the rep range or keeping a very strict, parallel core and attempt to resist rotating your core at all.
Always start light and build up the weight over a period of weeks while your body adjusts and you refine your technique. You should also ensure you regularly switch hands when warming up and performing working sets as muscular imbalances can occur if you regularly perform these with a single preferred arm. Finally, for those of you looking to include compound core exercise without training unilaterally, consider exercises such as overhead barbell squats and Romanian deadlifts.
This post was created in conjunction with FitnessOrStrength.com