4 Core Exercises That Target Different Muscles | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

4 Core Exercises That Target Different Muscles

January 24, 2014

All core exercises have value, but they don't all target the same muscles. Different areas of your midsection have different functions, and you should choose your exercises accordingly.

For example, when you carry a 30- or 40-pound suitcase on one side of your body, you're working your oblique muscles on the other side. Bending sideways is called lateral flexion. To counteract that, your internal and external obliques contract to create intra-abdominal pressure,which keeps your body upright and allows you to walk without falling over.

The suitcase walk itself is an anti-lateral flexion exercise, because your muscles provide resistance as your body bends sideways.

You want to train core stability in as many ways as possible—resisting extension, flexion and rotation. These exercises are called anti-extension (anterior core), anti-flexion (posterior core) and anti-rotation (rotary core).

Some exercises, like Deadlifts and Overhead Presses, train all of them simultaneously.

Here are four exercises to get you started:

Anti-Extension (Anterior Core): Hollow Body Position

The Hollow Body Position teaches you how to engage your anterior core. Notice that before I initiate the hold, I press my lower back into the floor, and my ribcage sinks down a bit. You should maintain this position throughout the duration of the set. As you get stronger, you'll be able to hold your arms and legs closer to the ground.

Start with sets of 20-30 seconds while ensuring your back is pressed into the floor. Take slow and controlled breaths without letting your ribcage flare upward.

Anti-Extension (Anterior Core):  Deadbug

The Deadbug is a step up from the Hollow Body Position. You focus on the same cues—lower back through the floor and ribs down—but this exercise adds another level of difficulty by challenging coordination and motor control.

To start, flex both hips at 90 degrees with your arms pointed at the ceiling. From there, simultaneously lower one arm and the opposite leg to the floor. As you rise, take in air through your nose, then forcefully exhale as you lower again. You should be out of air before you reverse the movement again, which implies that this exercise is slow and controlled. Five reps on each side work well.

Anti-Rotation (Rotary Core):  TRX Single-Arm Row

This one is much more challenging for the core than it is for the back and arms. Most importantly, your shoulders should remain squared straight ahead, and your torso should not rotate at all throughout the movement as you row with a controlled tempo. Ideally, your body should stay in a straight line from top to bottom. I like to use 6-10 reps per side.

Remember to modify the position of your feet depending on your level of strength. More advanced trainees will be able to lean back at a sharper angle, whereas those less experienced will remain more vertical. Find a resistance that makes the movement challenging but not incredibly difficult.

Anti-Rotation (Rotary Core):  Banded Pallof Press

Walk out until you feel some good tension on the band, and then hold it right in the middle of your sternum. With your glutes squeezed and your feet secure, press straight out and hold for one count. If you want an extra challenge, hold the band in the out position for longer periods of time. I also like 6-10 reps per side here.

Read more:

Topics: CORE
- Steven Trolio is a personal trainer certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is currently a student at Cleveland State University.
- Steven Trolio is a personal trainer certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is currently a student at Cleveland State University.
Must See
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,551,057
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,621,914
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 22,227,421

Featured Videos

James Harden on Becoming a Franchise Player Views: 72,546
Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 29,436
Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 574,257
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

Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,902,816
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,359,811
Colby Lewis's Four-Seam Fastball Technique
Views: 5,011,582
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,834,380
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,902,816

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

Eccentric lifts can be a powerful tool for strength, size, and improved performance. Eccentric strength, which can be thought of as strength when the...

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises

Mike Boyle: 4 Small Muscles That Can Lead to Big Gains

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

How to Improve Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

Build Max Power With These Pulling Exercises

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Grab a Broom for This Fast-Paced, Full-Body Workout

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Exercise

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

3 Simple Strategies for a Better Workout

Improve Your Squat Depth With 5 Easy Warm-Up Exercises

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Todd Durkin

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

4 Simple Golf Core Exercises to Increase Your Driving Distance

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

Increase Your Explosiveness with the Power Curl

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?