How to Start Training Your Core

April 3, 2013 | Robert Taylor

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Ab and core training attracts fads, gimmicks and promises of six-packs that fail to deliver the goods. Unfortunately, many people try to train their core when this term is completely unsubstantiated. Notice that many folks have different definitions of the core? It's because it doesn't anatomically exists.

Instead of training your core, you should train your midsection muscles in a similar fashion to how you train other parts of your body. You must perform exercises that flex, extend, rotate and stabilize your torso. Failing to account for one of these movements will impair your ability to generate power and resist movement.

With a quick Google search, it's easy to find exercises from supposed experts that train this part of the body. However, people don't realize that the spine is a delicate structure, so training your midsection needs to be progressive to be productive. If you are weak and try an advanced exercise, you will only set yourself up for injury.

To achieve your goals, you need to learn what works for you. It might come in the form of flexion, stability or group-up exercises . Remember, you have to work more than your abs.

What follows is a sample 12-week progressive 'core' workout for beginners. It will both strengthen your midsection and allow you to learn about your body. It will also prepare you for more advanced exercises involving standing and suspended positions.

Off-Season (Weeks 1-5)

  • Iso Abs - Perform Front Plank, Side Plank and Superman in circuit fashion
    • Front Plank  - 1x30 seconds, 1x40 seconds, 1x50 seconds, 1x60 seconds, 1x70 seconds
    • Side Plank (each side) - 1x20 seconds, 1x30 seconds, 1x40 seconds, 1x50 seconds, 1x60 seconds
    • Superman - 1x30 seconds, 1x40 seconds, 1x50 seconds, 1x60 seconds, 1x70 seconds
  • Alternating Bent-Knee V-Ups - 2x15, 2x20, 2x25, 2x30, 2x35
  • Weighted Physioball Crunches - 2x20, 2x25 (5 lbs.), 2x30 (5 lbs.), 2x35 (10 lbs.), 2x40 (10 lbs.)
  • Weighted Sky Touches - 2x15, 2x15, 2x20 (5 lbs.), 2x20 (5 lbs.), 2x25 (10 lbs.)

Pre-Season (Weeks 6-10)

  • Iso Abs - Perform Front Plank, Side Plank and Superman in circuit fashion
    • Front Plank  - 1x40 seconds, 1x50 seconds, 1x60 seconds, 1x70 seconds, 1x80 seconds
    • Side Plank (each side) - 1x20 seconds, 1x30 seconds, 1x40 seconds, 1x50 seconds, 1x60 seconds
    • Superman - 1x40 seconds, 1x50 seconds, 1x60 seconds, 1x70 seconds, 1x80 seconds
  • Bent Knee V-Ups - 2x20, 2x25, 2x30, 2x35, 2x40
  • Weighted Reverse Trunk Rotations - 2x15, 2x20, 2x20, 2x25 (5 lbs.), 2x25 (5 lbs.)
  • Weighted Toe Touches - 2x20 (5 lbs.), 2x20 (5 lbs.), 2x25 (10 lbs.), 2x25 (10 lbs.), 2x30 (10 lbs.)

In-Season (Weeks 11-12)

Watch this SMARTER Team Training clinic presentation for more info on how to train these muscles.:

Photo: skimble.com

Topics: CORE
Robert Taylor
- Robert Taylor is the founder and owner of SMARTER Team Training. He has served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Maryland;...
Robert Taylor
- Robert Taylor is the founder and owner of SMARTER Team Training. He has served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Maryland;...
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