Core strengthening exercises are like vegetables: You know you need them, but they aren't at the top of your list of favorite things. For that reason I like to pick core strengthening exercises that can kill as many birds with as few stones as possible—producing an optimal training effect with a minimum number of sets. With that in mind, we want to try to hit four core stability exercise categories: anterior, posterior, lateral and rotary.
Each of the following four exercises incorporates the functional demands of two, sometimes three, categories, adhering to the concept of killing as many birds as possible and gaining that optimal training effect.
Not all exercises need to be complex and high rep. Sometimes a few simple exercises will get the job done.
1. Mini-Band 4 Corners
This anterior (front) core strengthening exercise adds some shoulder work as well. Anyone who has trained with me knows that this is one of my favorite exercises (especially for pitchers and quarterbacks), and it always leaves your shoulders screaming.
2. Lateral Lunge with Band Overhead Reach
This one is more difficult that it may seem. The Overhead Reach works on anterior core stability while the exercise also forces you to rely on your lateral and rotary core stability (side/back core muscles). Again, as you'll find with many of these, this exercise also incorporates some light shoulder work.
3. Kettlebell Gladiators
Think of this exercise as a combination of a Side Plank and a Turkish Get-Up. It involves a bit a coordination, but done correctly it builds your shoulder girdle as well as your lateral and anterior core muscles.
4. Landmine Rotations
If you're looking to develop more speed on your fastball or air the football further down the field, you must include this exercise in your workouts. It requires you to load your hips and then pop the weight up, allowing you to harness that rotational power. An all around great core strengthening exercise.