Ditch the Crunches, Sit-Ups and boring Planks. Stop doing "ab exercises" that fry your hip flexors instead of working your abdominal muscles.
When it comes to training the core, you have to think outside the box. In this case, the box is your rectus abdoninis—the "six-pack muscles."
The TRX core exercises featured below are some of the best bang-for-your buck exercises. But first, let's talk more about the "core."
There is so much more to the core than a set of washboard abs and taking a selfie in good lighting. The core is vital for athletic performance, general health and most of all, the safety and well-being of your body during exercise.
When you train your core, think "everything from your glutes to your neck, 360 degrees around your body." With this mindset, you can bulletproof your body and build a sturdy foundation for powerful athletic performance and a healthy life.
Here are three TRX core exercises that will strengthen, stabilize and bulletproof your core.
TRX Stability Ball Planks
Ever wonder what would happen if the TRX Plank, Stability Ball Plank and RKC Plank all had a baby? Yeah, me neither. But this is the result: the TRX Stability Ball Plank.
As the industry steps further away from the standard timed Plank, creative variations like this one are becoming more popular—and for good reason. This and the other two exercises in this article are far more effective at building true core strength.
To execute this move, set the suspension straps low and place your feet in the straps. Place the stability ball a few feet in front of you and position your hands on the sides of the ball.
Assume a standard plank position with your feet in the straps behind you. Inhale deep, diaphragmatic breaths and use them for reps instead of time. Actively squeeze into the ball and try to remain as far from the ground as possible by reaching with your shoulders.
This is one of the toughest TRX core exercises you can try. Use it as an addition to your program. It will improve your breathing, posture, core strength, core stability and ultimately, your overall training results.
TRX Single-Arm Plank with Kettlebell Row
One of my favorite core exercises is the Single-Arm Plank with Band Row, made famous by Joe DeFranco and Jim Smith. This is a distant relative of that exercise and could be used as a progression.
For the TRX Single-Arm Plank with Kettlebell Row, set the suspension strap pretty low, so you can plank at a fairly deep angle. Grab the kettlebell, using about 50 percent of the weight you would normally use for a 12-to-15-rep set of strict Single-Arm Rows.
Place your other hand in the TRX strap, supporting your body in a 3-point Plank. Make sure both feet have good contact with the ground, keep your spine and pelvis neutral (not shifted to either side), and reach your other arm as far forward as possible.
From this position, begin your row. Try to avoid weight shift. It's almost impossible to have absolutely zero weight shift, but try to limit it as much as possible to get the full effect of the exercise.
Again, this beats the heck out of trying to plank yourself to death. The great thing about this exercise is that it gives immediate feedback, meaning you will fall on your face if you perform it incorrectly. So, uhh, don't.
TRX Row to Tricep Extension
I bet you're saying, "TRX Row to Tricep Extension? I thought this was an article about TRX core exercises." Although this move definitely works the arms and back, core activity is extremely important for it to be performed correctly.
This is a standard TRX Row, but you want to aim for enough power and concentric force to propel you past the standard range of motion for a Row. You want to row so hard that you propel your body forward to a new plane.
The next portion of the move involves using your forward momentum to start the TRX Tricep Extension, but you must activate your core to slow down. If you don't engage every muscle in your trunk, your body will completely overpower your triceps, and you may fall.
While your core is slowing your downward momentum, you can perform a standard Skullcrusher motion. Again, you're trying to perform this with so much force that you pass the standard end range and return back to the starting row position.
All three of these moves will smoke your core, and they are great accessory exercises with huge carryover to your big 3 lifts.
Get great at these, improve your big lifts and ultimately become a better athlete!
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock