It’s no secret that I love core stability exercises.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve read several explanations as to why core stability is important and why I no longer include crunches in my clients workouts.  I’m on #teamnocrunches!  So rather than more science, let’s get to the 5 core training exercises you need to be doing.  I bet there’s at least one you haven’t seen on this list.  It’s time to take core training off the floor!

  1. Pallof Press

The Pallof Press is a deceiving core exercise.  At first glance, it looks like an arm exercise.  But when you do it, you feel your core muscles kicking in.  The exercise is great for training lateral core stability.  You’re trying to resist being pulled into the machine.  Keep your weight even on both feet.  You may feel this all the way down the outside of your leg because those muscles are working to stabilize as well.  2 sets of 10 reps on each side.


2.  Oblique Dead Bug with Ball

The Dead Bug is great for the muscles in the front of your core, the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.  When you add the ball, you get an awesome cross-body contraction that fires up your obliques.  Use a light ball and keep your ribs against the floor.  Focus on pushing your leg and arm into the ball.  Exhale as you extend your leg; inhale as you bring it towards your belly. 2 sets of 8 reps/leg.


3.  Incline Plank with March

The Incline Plank with March takes the plank up a notch.  It’s one thing to be able to stabilize your core when you’re not moving, it’s a whole ‘nother animal to stabilize your core when you’re moving.  The key with this exercise is to minimize the rotation in your hips.  There will be a subtle weight shift each time you lift an arm, but keep the core locked in.  Make sure to keep your chin off your chest.  Try this plank for time (15-30 seconds) rather than reps.  Less incline increases the intensity.  If the version in the video is too easy, try it with your feet on the ground and your hands on either the first or second step up.


4.  Farmer’s Carry

This is another lateral core exercise meaning your sides will be challenged.  Hold a weight heavy enough to challenge your obliques.  If you don’t have a heavy dumbbell, fill a bucket of water.  Walk slowly about 30 yards.  Stay tall and resist leaning to one side. You can also do this holding a dumbbell in each hand.


5.  The Bear

I admit that I stole this exercise from Mike Robertson.  Here’s why I like it.  This exercise forces you to tuck your tailbone under which makes the rectus abdominis contract.  That is great for those who are in an anterior pelvic tilt where the tailbone sticks out.  The Bear also engages your obliques and shoulders.  This is another exercise that looks easy, but really isn’t when you do it right.  Hold the position for 20-30 seconds.


When designing my client’s workouts, I choose one frontal and one lateral core stability exercise to do in each workout.  It doesn’t take millions of reps to effectively train the core.  Leave a comment below with which exercise you are going to try!