Core Exercises to Boost Your Power

September 1, 2010 | Featured in the September, 2010 Issue

There’s a reason why pro athletes like Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning and Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander train their entire cores—and it goes well beyond sculpting a washboard stomach.

“A strong core enables you to be a strong athlete and more efficient in your movements,” says Colorado Rapids fitness coach John Ireland.

A strong, balanced core supports the body’s structure, enabling you to execute a skill consistently, powerfully and safely. But to develop the strength to do so, you’ve got to train your entire core, including crucially important, lesser-known muscles.

The abdominal muscles are only one part of the core. The others are the obliques, low back extensors, hips flexors and glutes. All of these areas function together to efficiently transfer force between the upper and lower body.

If your core is weak, your lower or upper body can’t efficiently transfer force. And your body will attempt to compensate with extra movement, resulting in loss of balance.

Strengthening the entire core requires more than performing Crunches. Use functional exercises like Olympic lifts, variations of the Plank, and single-leg or single-arm exercises. These force you to use your hips, glutes, abs and back muscles to stabilize and generate power during an athletic skill.

Incorporating stability and rotational exercises is the key to successful core training. To gain the full benefits, replace exercises that involve flexion while lying on your back (e.g., Crunches) with off-the-ground, functional exercises.

Total Core Exercises

Throw out your ab-busting six-pack routine and add these performanceenhancing exercises to your workouts.

Med Ball Rotational Throws

  • Assume athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Stand with partner or wall five yards to the left
  • Explosively rotate through core and throw med ball at partner/ wall
  • Maintain tight abs and stable lower body during rotation
  • Receive med ball and continuously repeat for specified reps
  • Perform set with partner or wall to right

Sets/Reps: 2x10-15 each side
Benefits: This exercise is a full core workout that strengthens the core rotators and hips, the source of strength and power for rotational movements involved in hitting, throwing and changing direction.

Physioball Jackknife

  • Assume Push-Up position and dig toes into top of ball
  • Keeping back flat and core stable, drive knees to chest to roll ball toward hands
  • Extend hips and knees to roll ball to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 4x10
Benefits: This unstable exercise strengthens the essential core stabilizers, which guard against injuries and provide stability throughout contact movements such as tackling, breaking tackles and boxing out.

Med Ball Back Hypers

  • Assume position on Hyper machine so upper body is perpendicular to floor
  • Hold med ball with arms extended toward ground
  • Raise upper body until parallel to floor
  • Lower with control
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 2x15-18
Benefits: This extension exercise offsets focus on the abs and creates proportionate core strength. A balanced core efficiently and safely transfers force between the upper and lower body, which translates into more power.

Related link:

Watch video of Justin Verlander's strength training for baseball.

Related Exercises

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Must See
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 33,259,082
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 7,485,687
RGIII Talks About His Legacy RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 29,913,485

Featured Videos

Basketball Shooting Drill With Kevin Love: 5 Spots, 5 Shots Basketball Shooting Drill With Kevin Love: 5 Spots, 5 Shots Views: 243,040
Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 22,319
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,097
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,576,211
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,332,865
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,498,918
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,269,514
Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling
Views: 1,174,560

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Why Everything You Know About Core Training is Wrong

Why Everything You Know About Core Training is Wrong

5 Training Ideas You Should Steal From the NFL's Best

5 Training Ideas You Should Steal From the NFL's Best

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

How to Get More Out of the Dumbbell Press

How to Get More Out of the Dumbbell Press

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

How to Build Arm Strength for Baseball Before Your Season

How to Build Arm Strength for Baseball Before Your Season

Wrestlers: Improve Double-Leg Takedowns With Sled Pushes

Wrestlers: Improve Double-Leg Takedowns With Sled Pushes

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

3 Barbell-Only, Full-Body Workout Programs for Any Fitness Goal

3 Barbell-Only, Full-Body Workout Programs for Any Fitness Goal

Keep Your Workouts Simple for Better Results

Keep Your Workouts Simple for Better Results

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

How to Perform the Farmer's Walk with Dumbbells

How to Perform the Farmer's Walk with Dumbbells

A Simple 6-Exercise Core Workout

A Simple 6-Exercise Core Workout

Build Explosive Strength with This Olympic Weightlifting Program

Build Explosive Strength with This Olympic Weightlifting Program

8 Ways to Use a Weight Vest in Your Workouts

8 Ways to Use a Weight Vest in Your Workouts

Build Strength with Kettlebell Sandbags

Build Strength with Kettlebell Sandbags

Duncan Keith's Stanley Cup MVP Training

Duncan Keith's Stanley Cup MVP Training

Advanced Anti-Rotation Core Strengthening Exercises

Advanced Anti-Rotation Core Strengthening Exercises

Improve Your Power With These Hardcore Methods

Improve Your Power With These Hardcore Methods

Why Every Athlete Should Do Farmer's Walks

Why Every Athlete Should Do Farmer's Walks

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Strengthen Your Core With 2 Simple Anti-Rotational Exercises

Strengthen Your Core With 2 Simple Anti-Rotational Exercises

Austen Lane's Complete NFL Workout

Austen Lane's Complete NFL Workout

Battle Rope Workout That Will Get You Shredded

Battle Rope Workout That Will Get You Shredded

How to Fix Back Rounding When Deadlifting

How to Fix Back Rounding When Deadlifting

Are You Loading Barbells Wrong?

Are You Loading Barbells Wrong?

Know Your Row: The Pros and Cons of 8 Different Back Exercises

Know Your Row: The Pros and Cons of 8 Different Back Exercises

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Is CrossFit Appropriate for Basketball Players?

Is CrossFit Appropriate for Basketball Players?

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Everything You Need to Know About Using Farmer's Walk Handles

Everything You Need to Know About Using Farmer's Walk Handles

8 Cures for a Weak Grip

8 Cures for a Weak Grip

Why the Clean Pull is Perfect for Athletes

Why the Clean Pull is Perfect for Athletes

YardBarker