To increase speed, improve balance, and build strength, a strong core is extremely important, no matter what sport you are training for. People tend to automatically associate ab work with an endless stream of crunches. However, in order to improve your core, you must pay attention to the entire midsection. This means training beyond traditional Sit-Ups.
The workout I discuss today hits your entire core region, and it will leave you exhausted in just three minutes. The only equipment you need is a weight plate. For athletes under one hundred pounds, I suggest using a 25-pound plate; between 100 and 150 pounds, a 35-pound plate; and over 150 pounds, a 45-pound plate.
For timing and safety reasons, the best way to perform this workout is with a partner. Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds with no rest between exercises. Have your partner keep time and help you with plate placement.
The first four exercises are performed from a seated position.
Begin holding the plate in front of you. Start twisting from side to side, gently touching the plate to the floor each time.
Place your hands at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock on the plate and rotate the plate like you would turn a steering wheel.
Holding the plate in front of you, reach out and stretch to your toes before rocking back to starting position. If you can't make it all the way to your toes, just stretch as far as you can.
With the plate held in front of you in a stationary position, bring your knees and chin to the plate. Be sure to keep the plate stationery so you don't hit your chin on it.
Stand up and hold the plate to your chest. Lift the plate over your head, then bring it down to your right toe. Lift it over your head again and bring it down to your left toe. Alternate for 30 seconds.
Assume Plank Push-Up position. Have your partner place the plate on your back. Be sure to tighten your abs as you hold Plank for 30 seconds.
photo credit: paleomagic.com