In this post, Monty will show you 10 great core exercises that will help develop and stabalise your core muscles. Core work is a great tool to have in your arsenal. As a Level 3 Personal Trainer, and graduate of our personal training courses, you will want to get these movements down before prescribing clients with programmes involving a lot of core repetitions.
The 10 that are showcased in this video, you can do pretty much anywhere you can find a comfortable, stable surface.
These 10 killer core exercises are:
- Russian Twist
- Back Extensions
- Dish Hold
- V-Sit Oblique Crunch
- Reverse Leg Raises
- High Crunch
- Leg Raise
- Plank Rollout
Hi guys. My name is Monty. My Instagram handle is move with Monty and today I'm going to be taking you through 10 killer core exercises, so make sure that you're in fitness gear, make sure you've got a bottle of water and the mat ready. I'm just going to wait for a few moments for people to join, and then we will get cracking. Not all of these exercises is going to be easy.
There are going to be some advanced ones. There are going to be some difficult ones. I'll do my best to throw in some regressions and some progressions as well, so that you guys have all got something to take away from this. Some of these exercises are going to be very difficult. Don't worry if you can't do them, that's fine. As long as you've built some sort of awareness that these exercises exist, then that's great too. Guys, follow along as best you can.
We're going to get started in just a minute. All of this is going to be floor based. You're not going to need any equipment, body weight only. We're going to be targeting the front side of your core, also the sides and the back side as well. We're going to go for a very 360 approach. All right guys, 10 seconds and then we are going to get started. This is 10 killer core exercises with me, Monty. My Instagram handle is Move with Monty. Don't forget to check me out. All right guys, we are going to get started.
We're going to start with a V sit. You guys are probably familiar with this. You're going to start by sitting down on your bum this way. I don't want you upright. I want you to chest behind your hips. Instead of having your chest on top of your hips, the further you lean back, the harder it's going to be here. We're really targeting the front of the core, the hips as well.
You guys can decide to lift the legs if you want to. This is a little bit harder. I wouldn't roll it onto your lower back because then you lose the kind of positioning and you lose the engagement of that exercise and it becomes something different.
So guys, you can even have your heels down if you want to, and you can make it easier by leaning forward. You can make it more difficult by leaning back. If you want to make it more difficult still, then just lift your legs up. Now, this is the V sit position. I've made a pretty shallow V with my thighs.
If you want to make it harder still, point your legs. If you want to make it harder still, hands-off okay. So let's go through them all. One more time. You're going to start in this seated position. Your heels are flat to the floor. You're going to lean your chest back so that it's behind your hips.
If you want to make it harder, lean back further, make it easier to come up further. If you want to make it harder to still, lift the feet. This is going to be harder from a balanced perspective and balancing right on the top part of my bum and then if I want to make it harder still, I point my legs. If I want to make it harder still, I lift my arms up and overhead and I'm holding that V sit position.
Okay guys. So that is your exercise one, the V sit and there's a few different progressions and regressions that you can go through there. The next one is a Russian twist. Now there's loads of different ways that you can do this. I'm going to show you my personal favorite. We're in a similar position to the V sit. I'm going to have hands just in front of my chest and then I'm going to rotate to the side and then come back this side.
Notice that I'm actually twisting my spine. I'm trying to turn my chest bone, my sternum to the side. Okay? So I'm not just chopping my arms this way. This can sometimes be a Russian twist. Some people would say that it's not. I'm inclined to agree with them.
I think Russian twist should have an actual twist in it as well. Guys, like I said, with the V sit, if you want to make this harder, you can lift your legs. Again, that's going to make it harder for the balance. You're really going to make your core work hard. It's going to make it much more difficult. If you guys want to, you can grab a kettlebell and then you can start to make it loaded. So if you don't have any equipment, don't worry.
I know that I said that this would be a body weight workout, but if you do have some equipment, you can throw in some weighted Russian twists. Guys, these are all pretty, but you've probably seen a lot of these before and that's fine. There's going to be some more exotic exercises in here later on. I just wanted to start you off with something that you might find a bit more familiar. We're going to go into some back extensions now.
So the back extensions, you're lying down on your belly and then from here, we're going to keep my legs flat. I'm going to lie down and they're going to lift everything off the floor. I'm going to lay everything down and lift everything up. It's almost like a cobra lifting his head up and spreading himself. In a similar way you're going to lift your upper back and spread your shoulders and open everything up.
If you want to make this a bit harder, you need more weight on this side of your body. So less weight down towards your feet, more weight up towards your head. We can do that by bringing our arms slightly out overhead. Then the similar way, I'm going to lift my body and lift my arms at the same time. You guys should be feeling work in your lower back.
That's not a bad thing. It's exactly what we're targeting. You might feel work in your mid back, in your upper back and also in your shoulders as well. So there you've got the back extensions.
So, so far we've covered the front of the core with the first two exercises with a little bit of twisting in there as well. We've now covered the opposite where we were working on back extension, trying to strengthen up those muscles that run up either side of our spine.
We're going to move on to a dish hold now. So this one, again is going to be targeting the front of the core. Again, we're going to start with some regressions to begin with. So the basic dish is going to start here and it's going to progress out to this position.
Okay, but we're going to start here where it's a bit easier. I'm going to begin with holding my knees and trying to press my lower back into the floor. I want you to imagine that you've got a bottle of ketchup underneath your lower back. You're trying to press all of the ketchup out of it by pressing your lower back into the floor. What you should feel is your core light up and work much, much harder. As you become more familiar with that, you can extend one arm.
If that's too easy, then extend the other arm and then start to extend both arms. If that becomes too easy, then we're going to switch it up. So we're going to extend one leg instead. I'm not letting my lower back arch. I'm trying to keep it pressed into the floor and I'm not letting my foot touch the floor either; and then extending the other leg and I'm practicing exactly the same thing.
So it's very similar to a dead bug here, but what we're going to start to do now is extend the arms and legs, keeping the lower back press to the floor and we're going to hold this position here. So you've got different levels of dish. You've got this position here where you're making a dish shape with your body or banana shape, or like a Crescent moon. You're then going to extend the arms to progress it, then extend the legs and then extend the arms with them as well.
What you'll find is that with each of those progressions, there's more demand on the front of your core to keep that lower back press to the floor. So we are not trying to keep a neutral spine here. What we are trying to do is round out the lower back, and we're going to shorten all of the muscles on the front of our body by pressing into that lower back area.
It's going to be really, really demanding on the core. We're going to move into a V sit oblique crunch now. I said that we're going to do some more exotic exercises. This is one of them. So what we're going to do is we're going to blend a V sit with an oblique crunch. So I'm going to rock onto my side so I'm no longer sitting on both butt cheeks. I'm on one butt cheek okay.
From that position, from sitting on that one bum cheek, I'm going to extend everything out, lean away from my legs. My legs are going to move away from my body and I'm going to crunch up, but I'm not all the way on my side. That would be me here in this position. I'm just on one butt cheek.
So I'm halfway between seated on both on my side. So I'm right in between the both. I'm going to lean away. I'm going to crunch up. You can see I'm using my hand for a little bit of balance that can help, can also help take a little bit of the load off the core. If you want to make it really hard, then do it with no hands whatsoever and that is really, really tough. What you should be feeling is work on the front side of your body.
So not perfectly on the side, not perfectly in the middle, but right there. So you want this part of your body, that 45 degree angle pointing towards the ceiling. You're then going to extend and then crunch. Extend and crunch with that knee tuck. So that's what we're going for there. I'm going to go through that one more time from a different angle.
So I'm going to go into this position here. I'm going to tilt onto one side this way. I'm going to extend my legs, lean away from it and then get a crunch back up. Notice how I don't center. Notice how I don't fall to my side. I'm staying on this point here. If the balance is a problem, just put your hands down and use them for a little bit of support. I can promise you if you do enough of those, it is going to absolutely tear up your core.
It is a very, very difficult exercise. The next exercise, we're going to go back to targeting the back muscles. So we're going to go to the posterior chain and we're going to do some reverse leg raises. So instead of lifting my chest this time, I'm going to lift my legs. I'm going to keep my body flat. Then my objective is to lift my legs. And what I should be feeling is work in my lower back, work in my hamstrings and work in my glutes.
If I want to make that really hard and again, this is where some of that exotic exercise comes back in, we're going to put the hands down this way and I'm actually going to tip forward all the way onto my chest. So I'm actually lifting my pelvis, my hips, off the floor. So level one, you're just lifting the legs. If that's still too difficult, just lift one leg at a time. So this can be used for some of your more de conditioned clients. For ones that need a lot more stimulus, then you can put the hands down by the sides and rock forward and lift the pelvis off the floor.
So all of my weight goes from my belly button here all the way into my chest. That's a very, very difficult exercise. It's certainly not for the faint hearted. So level one. Pre level one, in fact. You've got single leg reverse leg raises. You've then got both legs moving up at the same time. You should feel hamstrings. You should feel glutes, but more than anything, you should be feeling your lower back. This exercise does target your lower back. It's designed to.
The third level of that, or the much kind of more advanced level of that, is where you're actually lifting your belly button and your pelvis off of the floor so that all of your weight is in your chest. I'll demonstrate that one more time. So you've got single leg lifts here. You got double leg lifts, and then you've got that really advanced one. We are rocking forward into your chest, lifting your hips, your pelvis and belly button off of the floor.
It's much more advanced. It's very, very difficult. The next exercise, again is another difficult exercise. Don't worry if you can't do it, it's totally fine. What I'd rather you do is make the effort to do it.
It's not necessarily important that you complete the exercise, but it's more about the effort that you put into it because that effort will accumulate over time and you'll actually be able to do it eventually if you can't do it right now. So we're going to do an L sit. So a more basic level is just where you're putting your hands either side of your hips and lifting your bum off the floor. Okay?
That might be enough. If that's difficult enough, then that's fine. Keep training that until it becomes easy, then you can progress. The next level is where you lift one leg off the floor, as well as lifting your bum. So you're lifting one leg off the floor and then back down.
Try the other leg and that should put a bit more demand on your core, on your hip flexors and then your quadriceps. I'll show you from the front. So I'm here level one. I'm just lifting my hips off the floor. My feet are still in contact.
The next bit is where I'm lifting one leg. That's going to dial it up a little bit. Switch to the other side and then the final one, the full L sit is where your legs and your bum lift off the floor. This is difficult. Don't worry if you can't do it right now. It's more about the effort towards it. Because eventually, like I said, the effort will accumulate and you'll be able to do it eventually. Okay. You'll adapt and get stronger.
So the final L sit is here. Okay. So your bottom and your legs lift off the floor, making that full L sit. I'll show you from the front. Same again. Hands are going to press into the floor. I'm going to round up my chest. I'm going to engage my core, lift everything off the floor.
Okay. There's another more gymnastic style, core exercise. We're going to move into one of Christiana Rinaldo's favorite core exercise. We're going to do a high crunch. I'm sure that he's got another name for it, but that's what I felt like it was. I felt like that was an appropriate name.
So my legs are directly above my hips. From here. I'm going to reach up, touch my shins and come back down. This is a very small crunch, but what we're going to do is build up the speed so that it's done very, very fast. You can do this to time. You can do it to reps. It's up to you, but this exercise is designed to be done fast.
It's going to build up very, very... It's going to build up a lot of rate of force development in your core. Okay? It's a very, very good exercise for having very fast reacting core. So from here, I'm going to reach up. I'm going to touch my toes and as I get better at that, I build up the speed. Guys, if you're following along with me, try and keep up. We're going to do 30 of these high crunches as fast as we can. Okay. Try and beat me. We're going to go in three, two, one. Off we go.
So, as you should have found there, it builds up a little bit of a burn, particularly in your upper abs, but also in your lower abs as well. You guys, like I said, do it to time, challenge yourselves, challenge your clients. It's a very fun exercise to bring out a bit of competitiveness as well. The next exercise that we're going to do is a leg raise. You've probably seen this before.
I would have thought that you'd seen it before. It's a very common and very popular one. You're going to put the hands, just underneath my bum or just in front, rather. I don't want to sit on my hands because it changes the angle of my pelvis, which is not a bad thing, but it can add a little bit more complexity to it. So instead, we're going to sit with the hands just in front of my bum. I'm going to pop them on the floor and then going to lean back.
Now, in order for me to keep my hands there, I have to stay sitting up with my chest and with my head. If my arm starts to lean this way, I flatten. So what I want to do instead is to engage my core, lift my head and shoulders and again, like we did with the dish, keep that lower back press to the floor and then going to lower the legs and then lift the legs.
Okay. Now what I'm looking to do here is to maximize control here. So I'm trying to increase movement at the hip, minimize movement here. What I don't want is the opposite where we fix this and then arch the lower back. Now this isn't a problem. In fact, it's a very difficult version of a leg raise using the spine to do the movement, but for now, we're just going to keep the spine fixed and then lift and lower legs. Okay?
If this becomes easy and your core is very strong already, and you don't get any kind of lower back pain when you're doing this, because you can control the movement and your body feels strong enough and confident enough to do it, then you can progress this. One way that you can progress this is to allow the pelvis to roll back and forth.
What happens there is the lower spine is going to flex and then extend and what you're going to do is use the front of your body, your abs, your six pack, your obliques to control that eccentrically and concentrically. So you want to be able to keep engaged through the core the entire time. So what I don't want is to, just to flop here and have nothing going on here and then just to kind of arch my head and lift my legs.
I'm not really using this as much as I could be. If that's the case, then just dial it back to here, but if this is too easy, let your lower spine move and then crunch it all in and what you end up doing is going through a much deeper range of motion. Now that comes with a need for greater control, which makes the exercise more difficult.
So guys, play with the kind of more basic version of that, where you keep your lower back, pressed and fixed. As you get more advanced, then you can allow your pelvis to move, allow your spine to move. It's going to make the exercise a little bit more demanding.
We're going to finish up with a plank rollout. Again, this is probably something that you've come across before. We're not going to do it from... I'm not going to do it from my feet just yet. We're going to start from the hands and from here, this is going to load the shoulders, but it's also going to load the core. All I'm going to do is walk out as far as I can and then push back in. Now, as you can see, I'm bringing my hips with me.
I'm not doing this. I'm not letting my hips stay above my knees and the reason for that is there's not really much low to my core when I do this. So I want to make sure that I'm driving my hips forward, past my knees. This is going to load up my core. It's going to load up my abs. It's going to make the exercise much harder. I then continue out until I get into a relatively long position and what you should feel is quite a high demand on your core.
If you want to, you can then progress that to one knee, one foot on the floor. So you're in like a half plank, and then you do the same and then you walk it back in. Then switch legs. You've got one on the floor, one forward, but make sure that those hips still come with you and then come back up.
The final version is where you do it from your feet. If I fall over, please screenshot it and send it to me. So you're in that plank position and then you're walking out into that low position and then pushing back up. Now that is very difficult. Make sure that you're on a sticky surface.
Don't be on anything slippery because you will face plant. If you do that, record it and send it to me as well, because it's good entertainment. Guys, we had 10 exercises there. This is going to be recorded, so if you want to go back through, practice them, take some notes. Please do. I will see you guys next Tuesday on the Premier Global NASM page. I hope that was useful. I will see you next week.