Extreme Core Workout for Peak Sports Performance

January 7, 2013 | Jim Carpentier

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Your daily activities constantly recruit your core muscles. From your abdominal, gluteal, lower and middle back muscles and groin to your inner and outer thighs, you are engaging these muscles whenever you twist, turn, lunge laterally, move forward, reach overhead, catch a ball or bend down to grab a book from the bottom shelf. This is why for athletes a powerful core is essential. (See How Strong is Your Core?)

Following a dynamic upper- and lower body warm-up, try this challenging workout a few times weekly on non-consecutive days. It will strengthen all of your core muscles and lower your risk of injury during practices and games.

Alternate Cable Chops and Prone Planks

Targeting the obliques, upper and lower abdominal muscles. ( See it in action: Exercise of the Week: Cable Rotational Chops.)

  • Start in athletic stance facing cable machine
  • Grab overhead rope handle
  • Using 80% of RM resistance, explosively pull cable down to right side near waist, back up to start position, then down to  left side—for 10 reps
  • Without rest, place feet on bench and assume prone plank position on forearms
  • Hold for 45 to 60 seconds
  • Repeat cable chops/plank sequence two more sets

Side Lunges and Ball Twists

Strengthening for the glutes, inner/outer thighs and obliques.

  • Hold a 15- to 20-pound medicine ball at chest level with arms extended
  • Lunge laterally with right foot and simultaneously explosively rotate ball to right
  • Drag left leg back toward right and return ball to start position
  • Continue for four more reps
  • Switch to lunging laterally with ball rotations to left side for five reps
  • Rest 30 seconds and repeat sequence two more sets

Supermen and Side Planks

Supermen strengthen the lower back while Side Planks target the obliques. (See Ronald Forbes Alternating Superman.)

  • Lie face-down on mat in prone position with arms extended in front of head
  • Raise arms and legs off mat (stomach stays on mat)
  • Hold three seconds
  • Return to start position
  • Repeat nine more times
  • Immediately rotate to right side and rest right forearm on mat
  • Lift hips off mat and raise left hand overhead
  • Hold for 45-60 seconds
  • Rotate to left side and repeat
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Repeat supermen/Side Plank sequence two more times.
Topics: CORE
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
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